Benjamin A. Gilman Study Abroad
Charles Pridgen, Jr.
Junior, Finance and International Business Major
Cuenca, Ecuador, 2007-2008 Award
View from Saraguro, Ecuador
Salisbury University, February 4, 2008---Salisbury
University junior Charles Pridgen, Jr., an International
Business and Finance double major in the Perdue School of
Business, recently became the first SU student to be awarded the
Benjamin A. Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship. He was one of only
500 students nationwide selected for a Gilman Scholarship during
The Gilman Scholarship is granted by the U.S. Department of
State to undergraduate students studying abroad for a minimum of
four weeks. Pridgen used the $4,000 scholarship to pay for SU’s
Intersession in Ecuador program during winter break. Now in its
13th year, the SU program is four weeks long and involves travel
and study throughout the small Andean country in South America.
Supported by SU’s partner institution in Ecuador, The Centers
for Interamerican Studies, the program offers coursework in
Spanish from introductory to advanced levels. The winter 2008
program also offered communication arts classes in English.
This was Pridgen’s first trip outside the United States. “The
best part of traveling and studying abroad was being able to
experience a culture other than my own, and immerse myself in
it,” he said.
One of the program highlights is the opportunity to live for
three weeks with an Ecuadorian family in Cuenca, a city with a
population of 400,000. Pridgen found
this immersion into Ecuadorian society and culture insightful
and enjoyable. “I had a wonderful family who made me feel at
home while helping me with my acquisition of Spanish,” he said.
The Intersession in Ecuador program also involves travel and
study in Ecuador’s three main cities: Quito, Guayaquil, and
Cuenca. In addition, it takes students to smaller communities
high in the Andes Mountains and on the sunny Pacific coast.
Pridgen found the quiet fishing village of Canoa, where the
program spends its final two days, to be particularly
attractive. “It was the most beautiful and relaxing place I have
been in my life, and it provided a wonderful environment to
reflect on my experiences in Ecuador,” he said.
A native of Ellicott City, MD, Pridgen is the son of Charles Sr.
and Sherrie Pridgen. He is a 2005 graduate of Mt. Hebron high
school in Ellicot City, MD. On campus, he serves as a resident
assistant in Severn Hall.
To be eligible for a Gilman
scholarship, students must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant
during that semester. Summer study abroad programs are not
eligible for Gilman Scholarships.