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BC gains recognition as it brings the world to its students

AINBRIDGE COLLEGE biology students who studied in the Galapagos Islands, one of BC’s expanding study abroad opportunities, include those seen here with faculty who led the group. From the left, are Brent Beasley, faculty members Patrick Smith, Ridge Harper and Jenny Harper, students Curtis Young, Chris Lott, and Anthony Yates; in front, Ben Adamson, Eric Brock, Ariel Balla and Debbie Watkins.

Bainbridge College (BC) sent a record 34 students abroad as part of its International Education Program for 2009-10 and hopes to match or surpass that number this academic year with courses in Belize and Scotland.

And faculty members have gained statewide leadership roles for international education.

BC enrolled more students in the University System of Georgia (USG) European Council’s London program than did four-year institutions, said Dave Nelson, who led a study group to the London summer program.

The college’s level of involvement in USG international initiatives has resulted in leadership roles beyond Bainbridge and recognition of student achievement by the European Council, he said.

Nelson was elected member-at-large of the European Council’s Executive Committee. He is the representative for two-year institutions on the six-member committee. He co-chairs BC’s International Education Program with Library Director Susan Ralph, who has been chosen as treasurer of the Consortium of Belize Educational Cooperation, whose members are Belizean and American colleges and universities.

BC International Education Adviser Tracy Harrington accepted the chair of USG’s Study Abroad Committee and was asked to serve as one of four to develop a strategic plan for the System Council for International Education.

In addition to faculty expanding BC’s statewide presence in international education, student Meghan Vickers, who studied in London, was selected from among 200 students to receive the European Council’s Charlie Crouch Award for Outstanding Study Abroad Student, Nelson said.

“It was a great year. We hope in the future that students choosing to enroll at Bainbridge College will see it as a vehicle for them to see the world,” he said.

In its continuing efforts to bring the world to its students, BC offered study abroad programs to Belize and Scotland.

BC is building on opportunities students had last academic year.

In May, biology students studied in the Galapagos Islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

Biology professor Jenny Harper and English professor Patrick Smith led the 10 students along the steps of naturalist Charles Darwin. Students earned credit in biology and in English courses. Excursions included snorkeling with seals, walking with Galapagos tortoises, and observing the elusive blue-footed booby.

Education majors went to Belize in March with Valley Rogers and Eric Dueno to study for a week. The 15 students gained valuable experience with cultures new to them, taught in local schools, conducted scientific experiments, climbed Mayan ruins, and zip lined through rainforests.

Nelson’s eight BC students, who studied in London five weeks through the USG European Council’s Summer London program, visited historic sites, including Stonehenge, the Tower of London, and Hampton Court. On weekends, they took excursions to Scotland, Wales and France.