-Brookdale’s 5K Helps Students Study Abroad
By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez
Brookdale Community College’s International Education Advisory Committee is sponsoring the Brookdale 5K Run/Walk Challenge on Sunday, October 30, at 9 am, at Thompson Park in Lincroft. Tim McLoone, musician, restaurateur, and philanthropist—and runner—will serve as honorary race master.
The proceeds of the 5K—the first of what organizers hope to be an annual event—will benefit the Elaine Baran Scholarship fund, that was started 10 years ago and has provided Brookdale students with study abroad opportunities in 30 countries all over the world. Students can choose from over 80 programs for a spring, fall or summer term.
“Elaine Baran was a beloved faculty member in the foreign language department and one of the early directors of the International Center, who was taken from us far too soon,” says Janice M. Thomas, director of Brookdale’s International Education Center.
Although spending a semester studying abroad is a common rite among American college students, costly travel and expenses keep some Brookdale students from taking advantage of the opportunity. A scholarship fund like this “helps reduce the barriers for studying abroad,” says Thomas.
In past years, students have studied in Morocco, France, Germany, Japan, Scotland and Italy. The center also offers a variety of faculty-led short-term study abroad programs each year during the winterim and summer terms.
Since it began 35 years ago, Brookdale’s International Education Center has changed. Through various programs the center exposes students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, to develop global literacy and cultural empathy. It’s not just exchange students anymore. In addition to study abroad programs for students, the center offers professional development opportunities including faculty/staff exchanges, international grant-funded initiatives, and multicultural events.
Since 2007, the center has been advising international students, as well. “We like to say we deal with imports and exports,” says Thomas. Lincroft, NJ might seem out of the way for European, Asian or Latin American students, but many international students have learned about Brookdale through relatives who live in the area or from searching the Internet for good, affordable U.S. colleges. Equipped with a student visa, they often stay with relatives or friends, live on their own, or participate in a homestay program and live with local families. “We have a cohort of students from a variety of countries, including France, Brazil, India, and China,” says Thomas. “They come from all over to attend Brookdale.”
The International Education Center holds intercultural and international events throughout the year, including films lectures, excursion and festivals, and invite students, faculty, staff and the community.
In addition, the Global Citizen Project was developed to educate and engage students and the college community in global issues to improve the world and foster a life-long commitment to global citizenship. Through student clubs, nonprofit organizations, volunteerism and experiential learning, Brookdale’s International Education Center is making the world a little bit smaller.
Registration fee for the 5K is $25. Information is available at http://international.bookdalecc.edu or by calling 732-224-2799.