International Scholarship Awards Open Doors to Japan

July 7, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – With the help of nationwide need-based scholarship awards, Illinois Wesleyan University students Celeste Nunez and Tyler Rhodes will spend the fall semester studying in Japan. Nunez, class of ’09, is one of over a thousand students across the United States selected in 2008 to receive the highly competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which awards an average of $4,000 per winner. Rhodes, class of ’10, will receive funding from the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia, a program that, in the past eight years, has aided over three thousand U.S. undergraduates studying abroad in East and Southeast Asia.

Nunez, a French major, will study with the Institute for International Exchange (IES) at Nanazn University in Nagoya, a port city of two million residents. Rhodes, an international studies major, will spend his semester in Tokyo with the IES Japanese Society and Culture Program offered in connection with Kanda University.

In addition to Nunez and Rhodes, Melanie Bise, a class of ’10 international studies major with a focus on Asian studies, will spend a full year studying at Keio University. Since the fall of 2003, IWU has sent 16 students on semester- or year-long study abroad programs in Japan, three to study in both China and South Korea, and two to study in India.

According to Stacey Shimizu, acting director of the International Office, “Study abroad has immense benefits, not only in terms of students’ academic growth and intellectual engagement but also in that it helps students learn about themselves, their values, and their untapped abilities and competencies. Both the Gilman and Freeman programs bring study abroad within the reach of students for whom it might be too expensive.”

The Gilman scholarship, supported by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Institute of International Education, seeks to increase the total number of undergraduates able to study abroad each year by reaching out to students with demonstrated financial need, while also promoting non-traditional study abroad destinations. For additional information about the Gilman scholarship, visit the official Web site at

Funded by the Freeman Foundation and the Institute of International Education, Freeman-ASIA promotes and assists undergraduate study exclusively in East and Southeast Asia. The organization believes that first-hand experience is critical for students who wish to gain an understanding of the language and culture of the region, which is becoming increasingly prominent due to globalization. Once they have returned to the U.S., Freeman-ASIA award-winners are asked to share the knowledge they gained with their home campuses and communities. For additional information about the Freeman Award, visit the official Web site at

To learn more about IWU study abroad in Asia, contact Shimizu at

 Contact: Teresa A. Sherman, (309) 556-3181