Florida A&M University finance major Denzell Jackson was awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and will travel abroad to Shanghai, China this fall.
The scholarship awarded Jackson $8,000 for all expenses of the trip.
“I can’t even put into words how extreme this opportunity is to me. Not many people in my industry and in this business, have had the opportunity to go to China and see any part of Chinese business, which is extreme,” Jackson said.
“Having the opportunity to go to China, learn the language, learn the culture and learn the business practices is pivotal.”
In 2001, the Gilman Scholarship program was founded to provide American undergraduate students with limited financial means the opportunity to study or intern abroad. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Gilman scholarship enables students to thrive in the global economy. In traveling abroad, students are expected to further their proficiency in diverse languages, cultures and skills.
The late Congressman Gilman served in the House of Representatives for 30 years. The Gilman scholarship was named after him.
Gilman was awarded with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002. When honored during the ceremony he spoke about the value of students being able to travel abroad.
“Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community,” Gilman said.
Jackson decided to study abroad in China based off of his career aspirations in the business industry.
“If you think about China, it’s currently one of the world’s biggest economic centers. I thought why not study abroad in China,” Jackson said.
“China’s economical development has literally skyrocketed in past years. China has gone from a small world communist country to one of the world’s biggest powers. China plays a major role in world economics, world business and world trade.”
This summer Jackson was offered an internship in New York at a large investment bank. This internship is beneficial to his upcoming study abroad experience.
“The company I’m interning for is at the forefront of a lot of the world’s advancements in the industry. One of those advancements is China,” said Jackson.
“They really are focusing on building out their network in China.”
Kayo Williams, business administration student at FAMU, spoke about his reaction to Jackson’s scholarship opportunity.
“This is a huge opportunity for him (Jackson) as he is a person who loves to travel and understand different cultures. He can use this opportunity to grow and further him better toward his end career goal,” Williams said.
“The vast knowledge that comes with studying abroad in China is something that is priceless. This opportunity to him is huge.”
Once Jackson completes his degree from FAMU, he plans to secure a career in the business industry and possibly own his own company.
“Hopefully one day I will own my own company. I’m not sure what kind but the beauty of finance is that is gives you perspective across many industries. I will wait and see how things fall into place.”
Jackson has thoughts of settling down in China at some point. This study abroad experience may solidify that idea.
“It may not be immediate but within the next decade, I think this trip to China will completely change my perspective. I could literally see myself living in China one day because of my summer internship and this study abroad opportunity,” Jackson said.