About ISS

Scholar Services

UTSA Policy on International Travel to Restricted Regions Department Guidelines for International Policies

Gilman Scholars will travel to Italy, Japan, China, England and Argentina this fall

By Sherrie Voss Matthews, International Media & Marketing Coordinator

Five UTSA students are among the fall 2012 scholarship awardees of the nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.

"We're thrilled that our students will be able to study abroad this fall with the help of the Gilman program," said Kim Diehl de Yanes, director of Education Abroad Services in the UTSA Office of International Programs. "These students understand the value of gaining experience studying in a foreign country, and they worked hard to make it happen."

The winners include: 

  • Justin Bellott, sophomore, San Antonio, architecture, Italy, $3,500
  • Keishla McFarlane, senior, Puerto Rico, English, Japan, $4,500
  • Valeria Perez, junior, management, San Antonio, Hong Kong, China, $4,000
  • Polett Ramos, junior, biology,  San Antonio, England, $3,500
  • J. Margarito Terrones, senior, Spanish, Laredo, Argentina, $3,000

 “I love travel, traveling to me is my lifelong dream,” says Polett Ramos.

Pollet Ramos
Polett Ramos

Ramos will be at Keele University in England, studying biology, working her way toward applying to medical school. “Once I get into medical school, it is going to be hard to study abroad.”

Ramos made her dream happen. She planned the timing of her study abroad; she looked at how to best afford her dream of studying in another country, and met with her academic advisor to determine which schools had classes that would transfer. Not graduating on time was not an option.

Keele met all of her needs. The exchange program will not be much more than her UTSA tuition after she pays for her flights, and she can transfer all of her courses for her major.

She applied for scholarships. She spent two solid weeks writing and revising essays. “I went to the Writing Center like six times in one week, but it was so worth it.” Her Gilman will cover her plane tickets.

Now she’s saving money for room and board and personal expenses. She’s now carefully researching where she wants to travel while in England. She’s been to Mexico, but nowhere else, and she’s looking forward to traveling to as many places in Europe as she can afford. 

“My parents were really proud and surprised. I wanted to prove to them that I could make it happen.”

J. Margarito Terrones will study at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to deepen studies in Spanish language and literature.

“The main reason I chose the University of Belgrano is because they offer me a great modern language program,” Terrones explains. “Since I am Spanish

J. Margarito Terrones

language and literature major that will be a great outlet to fully immerse myself the language.”

Terrones plans to explore Mar de la Plata, El Calefate, Iguazu, Mendoza, and Cordoba while in the country.

Keishla McFarlane moved from Puerto Rico to San Antonio with her parents, and took the opportunity to change everything, including her major. The former computer science major became a modern language major, who will spend the fall at the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Japan.

 “I’ve always wanted to study Japanese,” she explains.  “I’m fluent in Spanish and English, but I’ve always wanted to know more. I like language. It is like a puzzle.”

Keishla McFarlane

McFarlane hopes to pursue a future in linguistics, but she doesn’t just want to study languages. She is looking forward to being immersed in the culture, with plans to travel to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

She has one major goal beyond her classes:  “I want to hang out with Japanese students.” 

Architecture student Justin Bellott has lived abroad for years, but is looking forward to improving his skills as a designer and artist in the heart of Italy while on College of Architecture’s semester at the University of Urbino.

“During our semester there we will be studying Renaissance architecture and the methodology that was developed about architecture during that time; by some of the most famous architects in history no less,” Bellott says. “These methods, ideas, and forms are no less important today than when they were first introduced to design, although the world

Justin Bellott

seems to have forgotten that. I want to relearn these principles because I believe that they will make me a significantly better and more competitive designer. “

  Bellott is planning to travel to Prague, Vienna, Paris and Barcelona while abroad. The Gilman award he received will help make that possible.

 “The Gilman award has made everything in general much easier to plan out and cover, whether it is food or lodging, supplies, or anything else there is no longer the stress of having to maintain a strict budget crunch every step of the way,” he says.

The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell grants and are planning to study abroad.

Students interested in applying for the Gilman Scholarship Program should visit iie.org/gilman and discuss possibilities with the staff at Education Abroad Services, MB 1.210.