Federal Gov. Recognizes Bergen Study Abroad Program

PARAMUS, N.J. – The U.S. Department of State has recognized Bergen Community College as one of the nation’s top institutions for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. Three Bergen students earned the study abroad program’s scholarship last year, placing the College ninth in the country among associate degree granting institutions for awardees.

“Studying abroad enables students to develop new worldviews and participate in learning on a global scale,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said. “The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides opportunity for students who may not otherwise had access to this enriching experience.”

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program, administered by the Institute of International Education, aims to diversify students who study and intern abroad as well as the countries and regions they visit.

Bergen represents one of only two colleges in New Jersey to appear in the rankings (Brookdale Community College has one Gilman scholar). Portland Community College and San Antonio College tied for first with 11 awardees each. For a full list of the institutions by category, visit www.GilmanScholarship.org/TopGilman.

In 2016-17, Bergen students Lauren Mitchell, of Ridgewood, Casandra Borchers, of Midland Park and Geraliz Jimenez, of Paterson, studied in Japan and Spain.

“Receiving a Gilman Scholarship obviously helped me financially, but in the months leading up to the announcement it really motivated me to do my absolute best,” Gilman scholar Borchers said. “I actually surprised myself with how much I was willing to take on in order to prove that I truly wanted to study abroad.”

In total, 11 students have earned the scholarship since 2011. International student counselor Amparo Codding coordinates Bergen’s study abroad program.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, with the support of the U.S. Congress, is reshaping study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students. The Gilman Program broadens the U.S. student population that studies and interns abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, over 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 25,000 Gilman scholars to 145 countries around the globe.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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