The Coast News Group
MiraCosta College students during a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy. Courtesy photo.

MiraCosta College recognized for study abroad opportunities

OCEANSIDE — MiraCosta College has been honored for its role in helping American students with limited financial resources to study or intern abroad.

The U.S. Department of State recently recognized MiraCosta as one of the “Gilman Top Producers” of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. The designation is awarded to the top 13 colleges and universities with the highest number of recipients of the scholarship, which helps to fund study or intern abroad opportunities for students with limited financial means.

The “Gilman Top Producers” fall into four categories – small, medium and large institutions, based on student body size, and associate’s colleges for two-year degrees. MiraCosta College was among three community colleges to receive the recognition.

“At MiraCosta College, we want to ensure that every student has access to a well-rounded education with a global perspective through international education,” shared Kathy Rodriguez, director of admissions and records. “Our study abroad program, and the scholarships that support it, are part of our commitment to providing students with equitable and diverse opportunities that allow them to lead the way toward building a better future for themselves, their community, and the world.”

MiraCosta College offers an array of study-abroad opportunities that allow students to travel outside the U.S. with California Community College professors and other California students to earn academic credit applicable to their educational goals. Students enroll in classes, receive transferable general education units and can apply for financial aid and scholarships to help with the costs.

Program courses and activities are geared toward taking advantage of the international location, and students gain multicultural experience by living and learning outside of the United States.

MiraCosta College is accepting applications for summer 2024 study abroad opportunities, including France and Costa Rica.

“The experience of studying abroad was life-changing,” shared Sophia McGovern, a recent MiraCosta College graduate and Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship recipient. “Thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship at MiraCosta College, I had the opportunity to experience new cultures and connect with people from different backgrounds, all while continuing my education.”

McGovern learned about the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship during her first semester at MiraCosta College in 2021. She already aspired to study abroad but knew the financial burden would be a challenge. Upon learning about the program from her professors, she was quick to apply, and after hearing she got accepted, she started planning her summer 2022 coursework in Florence, Italy.

Those months spent studying abroad remain some of the most formative of her life. Even today, as she pursues a degree in environmental systems at UC San Diego, McGovern is a vocal advocate for the benefits of studying abroad and the opportunities and scholarships that MiraCosta College provides.

Established in 2000 and named after the late congressman, the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program is a key part of the U.S. Department of State’s dedication to increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility among American students, especially those who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints.

Each year, more than 3,000 scholarships of up to $5,000 each are awarded to help students with limited funds to study abroad.

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