COD Students Receive Scholarships to Study Abroad

Study Abroad Scholarship Recipients

By Jordyn Holliday

Six College of DuPage students have received prestigious scholarships to support studies, internships and language immersion programs in four separate countries.

Students Joel Johnson (Naperville), Veronica Lopez (Wheaton) and Zachary Romero (Indian Head Park) earned scholarships to study in Germany, Costa Rica and Morocco, respectively, while Maria Garcia (West Chicago), Jeramey Gilliland (Wheaton) and Amanda Van Garsse (Wheaton) will study in Japan. COD’s Study Abroad Coordinator Sue Kerby said she expects the students’ experiences to benefit them academically and professionally.

“There are academic benefits in seeing curriculum from a global perspective,” she said. “From a professional standpoint, employers now want to see students who have global competency and experience with people from cultures other than their own.”

Johnson, a student in the Travel and Tourism program at COD, is a recipient of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship, which is jointly funded by the United States and German governments. The full scholarship gives Johnson the opportunity to travel to Germany to study, intern and become immersed in the German language during the 2018-2019 academic year. Johnson said this experience will enhance a passion he’s developed in recent years.

“I started learning the German language in high school and my interest in it really peaked after I took part in the German American Partnership Program,” Johnson said. “That solidified my passion to pursue a future related to Germany.”

Lopez, a photography student, received three scholarships to support studies in Costa Rica this summer: the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship and the IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grant, which are both intended to diversify global education opportunities, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which is funded by the U.S. State Department and supports Pell Grant Recipients. Garcia, Gilliland and Van Garsse are also Gilman International Scholars.

Lopez plans to share what she learns with her loved ones and enhance her photography portfolio.

“My goal is to learn about the Costa Rican culture and its people so I can teach my kids and friends about it,” Lopez said. “It’s also a perfect opportunity for me as a photographer to show that I can do something out of my comfort zone.”

Romero, who is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree, received the government-funded Critical Languages Scholarship and will study the Arabic language with a cohort group of graduate and undergraduate students this summer in Morocco. He said his experience as a student at College of DuPage has prepared him for the opportunity.

“I have COD to thank entirely,” he said. “I’ve had teachers who have been very personable and have been instrumental in my development in learning the Arabic language.”

The Institute of International Education recently ranked College of DuPage second among community colleges nationwide for international study opportunities. Kerby said COD has a long history of supporting international studies.

“We have strong faculty support for global education,” she said. “Faculty encourage study abroad, create and lead study abroad courses and bring global issues into their classrooms through curriculum development.”

For more information on all College of DuPage study abroad opportunities, visit cod.edu/field or call (630) 942-2356.

Pictured (from left): Joel Johnson, Veronica Lopez, Zachary Romero

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