Canisius Student Receives Gilman Scholarship

Alexander J. Vandenbergh ’14 is the recipient of a competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for 2012-2013. Vandenbergh will receive $4,000 to study abroad for the spring 2013 semester at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The first Canisius student to study in Porto Alegre, he is also the recipient of a U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program (U.S.-Brazil Program) grant co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Brazilian Ministry of Education. The $5,000 grant will help fund Vandenbergh’s intensive Portuguese language course and living expenses. 

Vandenbergh is a junior sociology major at Canisius College.

While in Brazil, Vandenbergh will investigate the economic and political differences between the United States and Brazil. “I would like to truly experience the difference between living in a ‘developing’ nation and a post-industrial one, such as the United States,” says Vandenbergh. “What and for whom are the benefits and consequences of economic development? What kind of inequality exists in other nations? I hope to gain some insight into such sociological questions during my time in Brazil.” 

Upon his return from Brazil, Vandenbergh plans to share his experiences in Canisius classrooms through the Study Abroad Ambassadors Program and in his role as president of the Canisius chapter of Amnesty International. He also hopes to propose the idea of implementing Portuguese into the Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures curriculum as a way to sustain further study abroad programs in Brazil.

After graduation, Vandenbergh plans to pursue a graduate degree in social work. He is Canisius College’s third Gilman scholar.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and provides awards to U.S. undergraduate students, who receive federal Pell Grant funding, so that they may participate in study abroad programs worldwide.