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Eastern student wins Gilman Scholarship to study in Spain

Published on June 21, 2023

Eastern student wins Gilman Scholarship to study in Spain

Foster and a Barcelona door decorated with graffiti

A doorstep in Barcelona

Foster sightseeing in Barcelona

With financial support from the federal government, Amirah Foster, a junior majoring in business administration at Eastern Connecticut State University, is getting a jump start this summer on a career in international business.

Foster won a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study and intern abroad. She is spending much of the summer in Barcelona, Spain, taking an international business class and interning at Beder, a social and video travel app company based there.

The multicultural environment in Barcelona, where she has met people from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and the Middle East, has helped build her professional experience and given her valuable connections, she said. She also plans to travel.

“One of the major advantages of being in Europe is the opportunity to travel to various countries at relatively affordable prices. I plan to make the most of this advantage during my time here,” she said.

Foster is no stranger to travel. A native of Yemen, she fled the war there and lived in Jordan, coming to the United States during her freshman year of high school.

“It was very hard coming to the United States because there were a lot of political issues going on, even though we came legally,” she said. She feared being sent back to the Middle East. She spoke no English when she arrived in the United States, so she took summer classes for her first two years of high school to make up classes that she could not pass during the school year.

“By senior year, I was already taking college courses,” she said. She attended Wethersfield High School.

Foster started college at the University of Connecticut but transferred to Eastern, preferring a school with smaller classes.

In her international business class this summer at the Cultural Experiences Abroad program in Barcelona, Foster is taking a six-credit class, studying the operations and strategies of global companies such as Zara, Google and IKEA. In her Beder internship, she contributes to the app’s content and is learning SQL coding.

“I aspire to pursue a career that involvers frequent travel and focuses on international relationships,” she said.

At Eastern Foster serves on the Youth Advisory Board for the Department of Children and Families and is president of the BUS Connection Club. She is the seventh Eastern student to be awarded a Gilman scholarship since 2012.

Written by Lucinda Weiss