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Study Abroad Student Testimonials

Recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship

The U.S. Department of State's Gilman Scholarship is an undergraduate scholarship program for U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals of limited financial means to enable them to study or intern abroad. The program provides awards of up to $5,000 for students who are U.S. citizens, Federal Pell Grant recipients and studying at an undergraduate level at a two- or four-year institution.

  • Spring/Summer 2023 Gilman Scholars

    Click on the images to see the student testimonials.

    Sadia Jahir Annona - Gilman Scholar

    Sadir Jahir Annona
    Gilman Scholar, Spring '23
    Destination: Santiago, Chile

    Sadia Jahir Annona - Gilman Scholar

    Limar Aryam
    Gilman Scholar, Summer '23
    Destination: Italy

    maroua-el-alaoui - gilman scholar

    Maroua El Alaoui
    Gilman Scholar, Summer '23
    Destination:  Scotland

  • 2021-2022 Gilman Scholars

    Click on the images to see the student testimonials.

    Farah Mohamed - Gilman Scholar

    Farah Mohamed
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2022
    Destination: South Korea

    Nicholas Rodriguez - Gilman Scholar

    Nicholas Rodriguez
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2022
    Destination: Japan

    Kimberly Mitchell - Gilman Scholar

    Kimberly Mitchell
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2022
    Destination: Malaysia and Bali

    Christopher Aviles-Sanchez - Gilman Scholar

    Christopher Aviles-Sanchez
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2022
    Destination: Spain

    Jannatul Ferdaus - Gilman Scholar

    Jannatul Ferdaus
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2022
    Destination: Phillipines

    Yasmin Jalloh - Gilman Scholar

    Yasmin Jalloh
    Gilman Scholar, Spring 2022
    Destination: Europe

    Manuel Santiago - Gilman Scholar

    Manuel Santiago
    Gilman Scholar, Spring 2022
    Destination: Europe

    Judith Obregon - Gilman Scholar

    Judith Obregon
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2021
    Destination: Spain

    Leonardo Villavicencio - Gilman Scholar

    Leonardo Villavicencio
    Gilman Scholar, Fall 2021
    Destination: Spain

    Jose Alvarez - Gilman Scholar

    Jose Alvarez
    Gilman Scholar, Winter 2021
    Destination: TBA

Other Scholarship Recipients

  • Berufsbrücke (Career Bridge), February 2023

    The Office of International Education and Sponsored Programs is pleased to share that, through our partnership with the Goethe Institut, we promoted the Berufsbrücke (Career Bridge) opportunity for NOVA students interested in German language and Engineering and received a heartening response. Through this program, students will learn German language skills to be able to communicate comfortably in a work-related context. Additionally, they will develop career-specific language competencies, European business etiquette and a foundation for effective intercultural communication​. Partnered with a German ‘buddy,’ participants will gain practical insights into vocational training at different companies in Germany. Students will undertake a rigorous virtual German language component throughout the spring semester and will travel to Germany in the summer for a three-week long apprenticeship program.

    Initially expecting two or three placements, we were extremely pleased to receive 10! The following students were selected:

    • Nicholas Fonseca Alva
    • Adam Hammoudi
    • Jabed Hossen
    • Samuel Lewis
    • Jean-Pierre Manapsal
    • Delilah Saloman
    • Cayden Smedley
    • Ilyas Valiyev
    • Jean Warber
    • Lauren Yang
  • Community, Activism and Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Program, February 2023

    Five NOVA students have been selected to participate in the Community, Activism and Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Program, an eight-day guided program in Tunisia that is specifically for students of two-year institutions. Participants will be introduced to the world of advocacy and civil society organizations in and around Tunis through daily presentations, panel discussions, engagement with local peers, tours and community service. They will also interact with leading organizations, activists and community leaders on topics of civic engagement, sustainability, race and indigeneity, gender, migration and other critical global justice issues through a Tunisian and North African lens.

    This program is funded through Project Minah , a funding initiative that enables students enrolled in community colleges and other two-year degree programs to engage with peoples of the Middle East and North Africa through Amideast’s programs.

    The following is a list of names of our NOVA recipients:

    • Afrin Akhtar (Alexandria Campus)
    • Marmawite (Mariam) Debas (Annandale Campus)
    • Misa Layne (Alexandria Campus)
    • Nada Odeh (Annandale Campus)
    • Zaynab Mirza (unknown)
  • Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship, U.S. Department of State.

    Funded by the U.S. Department of State, this two-year Fellowship program is a path to a career in the Foreign Service by providing academic funding for an IT-related degree, internships, professional development and mentorship - culminating in an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist (IMS).

    Click on the images to see student testimonials.

    Iyouel Endashaw

    Iyouel Endashaw
    FAIT Fellowship - 2023

  • Critical Language Scholarships (CLS & CLS Spark, U.S. Department of State)

    The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans studying critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The CLS Program provides opportunities to students to spend eight to ten weeks studying one of 14 critical languages.

    Two students from Northern Virginia Community College have been selected to participate in the CLS Program during the summer of 2023. They are among approximately 500 competitively selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award in 2023. 

    • Sajeda Shuaib - Persian
    • Afrin Akhtar (CLS Spark) - Chinese

    NOVA has had 15 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) recipients since 2022!

NOVA Study Abroad Testimonials

  • Scotland

    Inaugural 2023 Scotland Ethical Hacking, Cybersecurity, and Criminology Program.

    Students and faculty pose with an American flag and a Scottish flag outside Abertay University, Scotland.

    Testimonial - Taiba Haidari

    "Are you ready for studying, exploring, and learning new things? If so, then embark on an abroad journey with NOVA. Studying abroad in Scotland was an amazing journey for me. I was blessed to study, explore, and strive for more success.

    "I was placed in Dundee, Scotland. Housing accommodation was provided for me. The university, Abertay, was very close to where I lived, and other facilities were accessible around the city. Classes were being taught by very knowledgeable professors and experts in the field. I really enjoyed taking both Cyber and Criminology classes at Abertay University.

    "If you'd like to enlighten your future academic destiny, and develop new skills I would highly recommend you to tackle the abroad opportunity at NOVA and gain more experience with it. Once you embark on the journey you will understand the importance of every aspect of being abroad and experiencing it in the process. It absolutely was a path towards self sufficiency and sustainability as long as you take the advantage of the tools and aids given to you."

    Testimonial - Iyouel Endashaw

    "From the minute we landed in Scotland, this program has exceeded all of my expectations! Even though I was in a foreign country for the first time without my family, all of the NOVA and Abertay faculty made this city feel like home. Now as we come to the end of this program, I'm no longer feeling homesick but instead I'm already missing Dundee. If I could talk to anyone who has doubts or questions about doing this program, I would tell them to sign up for this program with no hesitation - It's so worth it!"

    Iyouel Endashaw was also a recipient of the FAIT Scholarship - see above.

    Testimonial - Brayden Whisler

    "Before this trip, I had never left the United States and was a bit intimidated by the prospect of it. However, I couldn't be more pleased to take on this new challenge and experience it with an open mind and positive attitude. The lecturers in Dundee are absolutely amazing! The open-discussion-style classes are perfect for learning the material and engaging with your lecturer and peers. Both of my lecturers cared deeply about their students and did everything they could to ensure our success. Apart from classes, the faculty set up weekly excursions for the entire cohort, so we got to visit Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and plenty of historic castles throughout the Scottish landscape! If you get a chance to go on a study abroad program, do it! You will not regret it. You will come back with a better understanding of different cultures and an appreciation for countries outside of the U.S. You'll realize that traveling abroad, or living abroad, isn't as scary or intimidating as you thought!"


    Testimonial - Maroua El Alaoui

    "And the trip…It was the most incredible opportunity I've ever had. I've switched majors a bunch of times at NOVA, and I ended up switching one more time because of the program. So I went as a cloud computing major and now I switched over to criminology. I really enjoyed the class over there and felt really inspired by the lecturer and was fascinated with the stories he shared about his experiences in the field. I had a couple of discussions with him and I thought that was a really cool field that I could go into, and I think it just fits me better than cloud. So, without the trip I probably wouldn't have found something that I'm more interested in going into career wise. And the people that I've met, I still talk with some of them that I went on the trip with, I built some really great relationships. And I also want to transfer to the school over there, I just really loved the atmosphere of the campus. So again, without the scholarship Gilman, I wouldn't have had this opportunity, and I really do think it kind of changed the trajectory of my life, and where I wanted to go and do."