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Gilman IHP scholar contrasts experiences in three countries
Find out more about SIT's International Honors Program in Human Rights
December 6th, 2022 | SIT Study Abroad
This post was originally published on the Cornell College News Center. It is reprinted here with permission.
Cornell College senior Annabella Poulos has earned the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and is traveling abroad to Nepal, Jordan, and Chile this semester.
The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and provides Pell Grant recipients with funding to be used toward internships or study opportunities abroad. “Last academic year, I found the IHP Human Rights Program offered through the School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad. It’s an honors program for students that moves between three different countries throughout the semester,” Poulos said. “This was appealing to me because I would have the ability to experience three completely different cultures and communities and get a more hands-on approach to learning about human rights issues around the world.”
I am also doing a research project in all three countries on spatial justice through migration, citizenship rights, and right to land.
Poulos takes five courses in each country, language, Research Methods, Civil Society’s Role in Human Rights, Foundations of Human Rights, and Comparative Issues in Human Rights. He focuses on studying different human rights violations within each country, examining the similarities and differences.
“I am also doing a research project in all three countries on spatial justice through migration, citizenship rights, and right to land,” Poulos said. “This is something that I have been interested in throughout my studies at Cornell and have done previous research in other classes. It also ties into my future career goals of working to help migrants and refugees connect to their new home and community when entering the country.”
This Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native says this is the first time he has left the country. He says it’s one thing to read about these cultures in books, but it’s something else entirely to experience it in person.
“Some of my biggest takeaways from this program are the rights surrounding migrant workers and the struggles they face every day,” Poulos said. “Hearing personal stories and being able to learn about real cases and issues that people have and are going through has truly changed my perspective on transient workers and their rights. Tying into this, understanding the importance of citizenship documentation and having a home country, especially in the Middle East, has tied greatly into most of the issues we discuss every day.”
Poulos, who is a religion major at Cornell, worked with Assistant Professor Chris Hoklottube, Professor Steven Sacks, and Dungy Writing Studio Director and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships Laura Farmer on the Gilman Scholarship application.
Some of my biggest takeaways from this program are the rights surrounding migrant workers and the struggles they face every day.
“I was thrilled when Annabella won the Gilman Scholarship, particularly because his first attempt was unsuccessful,” Farmer said. “Annabella is a great example of the importance of tenacity and revision when it comes to pursuing scholarships and fellowships. The second time around he found a program that fit his professional and personal ambitions even better, and now he’s off on a great adventure.”
The Gilman Scholarship provides up to $8,000 for study abroad costs, based on the applicant’s financial need. Students can apply for the scholarship to any program, any country, and for any length of time; block classes abroad also count. The next deadline is March 9, and Farmer said she’s happy to answer questions for any interested students.
As for Poulos, he’s filling his days abroad with new experiences and opportunities while he’s abroad and is thankful for friends back on campus keeping him informed about what’s happening on the Hilltop. Now, he’s got his eyes set on the future and all the possibilities that lie ahead.
“I have become more confident in my skills and knowledge throughout this program and believe that will help me to become a highly qualified candidate when looking for future opportunities,” Poulos said.