Each year, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program aims to open the study abroad experience up to students with financial constraints, as well as expand the study abroad student population by supporting students with underrepresented majors, diverse ethnic backgrounds and disabilities.
One of these prestigious scholarships went to Stéfon Marquette, a transfer student at Arcadia University studying global legal studies and French.
Combined with transcripts that proved his academic success, Marquette’s application essay, in which he drew upon themes from Roch Carrier’s short story, “Il se pourrait bien que les arbres voyagent,” to express that one can’t learn by staying in his or her comfort zone, earned him the maximum Gilman scholarship.
The award will allow Marquette to study international and European Union politics and law at the American Graduate School in Paris for the upcoming academic year. Marquette, who has studied the language, culture, and government of France for nearly 14 years, will be taking two advanced French courses at l’Alliance Française Paris, Île de France.
Marquette’s interest in the French language started in the first grade when, by chance, his elementary school librarian handed him a French book at a used book sale. Since then, it’s been Marquette’s goal to achieve a higher level of fluency by immersing himself in the language and culture of France.
“I think concentrating on one area of study and one language for that long while I’m actually there, in a city where the things I’m studying are happening all around me, I will definitely be a stronger student and more capable individual at the international level, which is something I really think all students in every field of study need right now,” said Marquette.
Thankful for the opportunity, Marquette added: “The Gilman Scholarship was honestly the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my academic career. I’m literally fulfilling a lifelong dream next year. And I’m glad I’m going into this year of living abroad with the guidance and resources that come with being an Arcadia University student and a Gilman scholar.”