New College students win Gilman Scholarship to study abroad

Third-year students Amaranth Sander and Rain Kwan are headed to Canada and Japan, respectively, next semester as recipients of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for spring 2019.

A program of the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship gives students of limited financial means and diverse backgrounds the opportunity to study or intern abroad through awards of up to $5,000. Nationally, only 30 percent of applicants receive scholarships.

Both Sander and Kwan will be studying abroad through the National Student Exchange which will allow them to pay the New College tuition rate while they are away for the semester.

As part of the Gilman Scholarship application process, Sander and Kwan also submitted proposals for a service project that will have an impact on the New College campus or their local communities.

Sander, an anthropology and environmental studies student, was awarded $1,000 to pursue their passions in French language and environmental sustainability at Bishops University in Quebec, Canada.

“I’m going to an English-speaking university in a French city, which will be an interesting intersection of cultures,” said Sander, who hails from Tallahassee.

Sander, who has been involved with the campus’s Council of Green Affairs since their first year, looks forward to using their time abroad as a way to make New College a greener community.

“My goal is to base a project inspired by Bishops’ strong commitment to environmental sustainability and work with our CGA to incorporate similar programs on campus,” said Sander.

Kwan, a computer science student, received $3,000 to study Japanese language and culture at Tokyo Metropolitan University in Japan. It will be the first time abroad for the first-generation student from Jacksonville, Florida. Kwan, who is half-black and half-Asian, was adopted and is excited for the opportunity to explore her identity by immersing herself in an Asian culture.

“I don’t really know that part of me, so it will be an explorative way to get to know a new culture,” said Kwan, who is involved with several clubs on campus, including the Black Student Union and the Asian/Pacific Islander Student Alliance.

Kwan will be documenting her experience through photography and hopes to bring a greater sense of cultural awareness to the New College campus when she returns. She plans to put together an exhibit focusing on her time abroad.

“I volunteer as a tutor at the library in the Newtown community,” said Kwan, “and I’d like to share my experience with the kids there to show them that I don’t have many resources, but I had this opportunity and you can, too.”

Since 2005, New College has had 22 Gilman scholars including Sander and Kwan.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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