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State Department scholarship assists WCU student in traveling abroad

Zhane Strachan, a junior studying graphic design at Western Carolina University, has been awarded a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study in Japan this fall.

Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the Gilman Scholarship is a grant program that gives students the opportunity to study or intern abroad and emphasizes learning about culture and language to prepare individuals for a globalized world.

Zhane Strachan

“I can't really put into words how happy and humbled I was to receive the Gilman Scholarship,” said Strachan. “I know a lot of college students resign themselves to never thinking they have a chance to go abroad. I was one of them. I don't believe that anymore.”

Strachan plans to post a blog throughout her time in Japan. “When I return to Western, I look forward to participating in International Education Week for my service project and talking to as many students as I can on campus about going abroad,” she said.

International Education Week is a November event presented by WCU's Office of International Programs and Services to celebrate the importance of different cultures and global awareness, with free food, performances and activities with a global flair.

The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. Since 2001, the scholarship program has enabled more than 28,000 American students of diverse backgrounds to engage in a meaningful educational experience abroad.

For more information about Gilman Scholarship opportunities, go to For more information on WCU’s International Studies Program, click here.

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