Leonardo Hall ’23 received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to go to Italy.

Traveling to Europe for a study abroad program has always been on Leonardo Hall ’23’s bucket list. An international business major with a minor in economics, Hall dreamed of seeing the world and learning to live, work, and thrive in another country. So, when the staff at the Office of International Programs suggested he apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, he jumped at the chance to stamp his passport.

Leonardo Hill ’23 in front of the Duomo in Milan, Italy.
Leonardo Hall ’23 in front of the Duomo in Milan, Italy.

“Studying abroad was the perfect opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and test my boundaries,” Hall says. “I applied for the award due to the vast underrepresentation of students of color studying abroad.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Gilman Scholarship Program has helped 38,000 students in the U.S. travel abroad. The program is specifically tailored to college students who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to participate in a study abroad program. The scholarship is offered as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which aims to foster mutual understanding and build relationships between Americans and people living in other countries.

Thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, Hall is able to immerse himself in another language and culture. In January 2023, he boarded a flight to Milan, Italy, where he will spend an entire semester. In addition to his coursework in business and Italian language at Bocconi University, he’s eager to make the most of his time in Italy, visiting local landmarks like the Duomo di Milano and the Galleria Vittorio, as well as famous works of art like Leonardo DaVinci’s “The Last Supper.” Through it all, he’s gained an appreciation for Italian culture and history.

“My time in Milan has been nothing short of incredible. It is a city frozen in time that has captivated me with both its art and architecture,” he says.

In addition to his studies, Hall is active in lots of activities on campus. He competes on the Logger men’s track and field team and is a member of the Investment Club. The Graham, Washington, native is also part of a cohort of Access Scholars, which provides support to Puget Sound students who have participated in the university’s college access programs for local middle and high school students.

Because of the scholarship, which covers travel costs like airfare, local transportation, passport and visa fees, and more, Hall is able to explore Northern Italy, meet new people, and gain a wider perspective on the world.

“While I’m here, I’m hoping to improve my Italian and make meaningful international connections.”