Cousins Nathalia Gonzalez and Alejandro Giraldo, both of Wood-Ridge, are attending Instituto Venezia’s super intensive language program in Venice. Karli White, of Bloomfield, received a scholarship from the Bergen Community College Foundation to study in Tuscania.
After a semester of Italian at Bergen, Gonzalez, a general studies major who wants to pursue a career in social work, developed a desire to travel and add a third language to her skillset. Already fluent in English and Spanish, she said the language program will help attain her goals.
“I want to get out of my comfort zone, and learn more about myself as well as different cultures,” she said.
Giraldo, a business management major, wants to pursue his passion for coaching soccer and hopes to one day live in Europe – home to some of the world’s most elite soccer teams and players. While studying in the language program at Instituto Venezia, Giraldo plans to use his spare time networking with Italy’s soccer community.
“You never know what can happen. We could make lifelong relationships while we’re there,” he said.
While spending the semester studying abroad in Tuscania, White, a fine arts major and self-described “wanderlust,” seeks to learn more about the country’s architecture and art – as well as reconnect with her own Italian culture.
“Going to Italy and experiencing all that it has to offer will have a great impact on how I see things, and maybe I will even find out something new about myself,” she said.
All three students will return to the U.S. this month before the start of the fall semester Sept. 1.
Each year Bergen sends students all over the world to study – including Argentina, China, England, Japan and Morocco. The College’s study abroad program helps support a nationwide initiative, spearheaded by the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) “Generation Study Abroad” program, to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by 2019.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu<http://www.bergen.edu/>), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 15,000 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.