GHC student earns scholarship to study abroad in Paris this summer

Georgia Highlands College student Julianna Lynch will spend the summer immersed in French culture all while earning college credit thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

With this scholarship, Lynch will participate in the University System of Georgia (USG) Goes Global study abroad program.

“I have always wanted to travel, and when I heard the study abroad program was planning to go to Paris, I absolutely had to apply,” Lynch said.

Lynch added she was surprised and filled with a sense of accomplishment when she learned she had received the scholarship. Typically, very few scholarship applicants are selected.

“I always felt that traveling abroad was a far-off dream,” Lynch said. “To see that I had been selected for the scholarship, knowing that their scholarship is very competitive and selective, I was simply amazed and honored.”

Spending much of her youth studying Parisian and French culture, Lynch utilized her personal experience to help craft her Statement of Purpose and Community Impact Essays required in the application process.

“I relied on what I already knew and strongly felt about travel, other cultures of the world and the correlation of broadening horizons and the positive impact it has on the community,” Lynch said. “I 100% encourage others to apply for the scholarship if the college has a place you’d like to travel to. Travel is one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ things that can truly change your life, open your mind to new and exciting things and help make you a better person.”

According to, since 2001 the Institute of International Education has administered the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, providing them with skills critical to national security and economic prosperity.

Georgia Highlands College Associate Professor of History David Hensley will be teaching during this year’s USG Goes Global Program. He said participating in study abroad programs provide an opportunity for students to see the world and learn about other cultures while also helping students gain perspective on life back at home.

“When I taught in Berlin in 2018, the students not only became acclimated to the rhythms of life in an international city, but they also developed friendships with fellow students from around the state of Georgia,” Hensley said. “For many – including myself – study abroad is a life-changing experience.”

For Lynch, being able to visit Paris will be a dream come true.

“Paris is such a beautiful, enriching place,” Lynch said. “The culture, arts, music, food, history, all of it is as if observing the apex of our modern world spanning back for hundreds of years. I know I will be forever marked by this trip, and I look forward to a vast myriad of things I will learn, not only from the incredibly interesting classes offered, but from the city itself.”

Lynch is in her second semester at GHC and is majoring in English. She lives in Cartersville and takes classes online.