Trousdale earns Gilman Scholarship to Argentina

Oliver Trousdale ’20 will spend the fall 2019 semester studying in Argentina with a  $2,500 Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State.

Oliver Trousdale ’20
Oliver Trousdale ’20

The politics and Spanish double major from Schaumburg, Illinois, says they were filled with relief and excitement after hearing the news. Now, they’re looking forward to learning everything possible during the program.

“I am doing a semester-long interdisciplinary program with the School for International Training (SIT) studying social movements and human rights,” Trousdale said. “I will attend seminars taught by university faculty in Buenos Aires but also travel with my cohort to Patagonia and Northwestern Argentina to learn from indigenous and other activist groups. Each excursion will be a week long. All courses are taught in Spanish, which I expect to be challenging, but really important for my language skill building.”

Trousdale’s top goal for the semester is to develop professional proficiency in Spanish. They have taken Spanish classes since junior high, but they’re looking forward to a full immersion into the culture and language of the people of Argentina next semester. One part of the program includes a 10-week stay with an Argentine family. Trousdale knows this trip is crucial for their future career.

“Studying the topic of social movements and human rights is particularly useful for my career goals, as is studying Spanish,” Trousdale said. “After Cornell, I hope to be a community organizer in Chicago’s nonprofit sector for the LGBTQIA+ community, so understanding how social movements work in an academic context will be extremely helpful to my professional goals, as I want to work with marginalized populations. All community advocacy work should be intersectional, and living in Chicago Spanish fluency is key. ”

Trousdale is also working with a teacher at Mount Vernon High School to organize an opportunity to share their story and a message about the importance of studying abroad. It’s a trip that’s important to this Cornell College senior, and they know it’ll be a life-changing experience.

“This is my first time traveling outside of the United States, so I am really grateful to the Gilman program and the need-based financial aid I received,” Trousdale said. 

The program runs from Aug. 27–Dec. 9.