Mitchell Leong ’17 of Littleton, Colorado, has received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study in China during the spring 2016 academic term. He is one of approximately 800 American undergraduate students from 355 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Leong, who plans to major in Asian Studies, will study at the Fudan University in Shanghai through Colorado College’s semester in Asia. Leong says it’s his first time visiting China, and among the cities he will have an opportunity to travel to are Beijing, Wuzhen, and Suzhou.

“I hope to raise my level of Chinese to an even higher level. Being immersed in the language and culture I hope to learn new facets about China and its people,” he said. After graduation he hopes to attend graduate school and earn a degree in international relations with a focus on China and Chinese language.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.

Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.