This scholarship program, administered by the GCC International Studies Committee, has been sponsored jointly by the Student Senate and the President since 2000. Each summer, the scholarship recipients spend two to three weeks in a language and culture institute in a French- or Spanish-speaking country. Students immerse themselves in the culture and the language of the country they visit. The program offers the opportunity for students to develop their communication skills and to gain understanding of other cultures first hand. Program opportunities include attending language classes at the institute, visiting local sites of cultural interest and staying with local host families.
Charlotte Gifford, World Languages Department faculty member, says that transformative experience is common for recipients of the College’s annual travel awards, and indeed the goal of the program.
“Just 1 percent of U.S. college students have a study-abroad experience,” she says, “and we need to greatly increase that number in this globally connected world. The chance to put into practice the lessons in language and culture that were initially learned in a classroom is invaluable, as are the many encounters with people with different world views and life experiences.”
Financial, personal and/or professional constraints limit the opportunities for community college students to study abroad, even when they are studying another language and culture and would love nothing more.
Yet each year, thanks to generous funding from the GCC Student Senate and the GCC Foundation, two students are awarded scholarships to help support the cost of international travel. Upon their return, travelers deliver presentations about their trip to the campus community.
Award recipients are chosen by a committee of faculty and staff.
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