You should start planning at least a year in advance. Why?
Because you need to think about the following:
- The requirements necessary to apply for a study abroad program. You should have completed one semester at BCC and have a 2.5 GPA. Some programs have a higher requirement.
- The country you want to go to. Most of the programs do not require language proficiency; that is, the courses are taught in English.
- The amount of time you want to spend overseas. Semester programs are 3-4 months long (12-18 credits); summer programs are 4-6 weeks long (6-7 credits).
- The cost of the program and how you will finance it. If you are planning to apply for financial aid or apply for a student loan, it takes time to process the paperwork. You need to have realistic expectations. The sooner you know you want to go, the earlier you can start saving your money!
- The courses you want to take and how they’ll fit into your Bergen Community College curriculum. If you wait until you are ready to graduate, your course options will be more limited. If you plan carefully, you will be able to take many of your Humanities and Social Sciences general education electives overseas. Keep in mind that there are more offerings during the regular semester than there are in the summer.
- The program application deadlines. In the event that you can apply for scholarships, you need to have been accepted to a study abroad program.
- The documentation necessary to travel (passport, visas and/or vaccinations
- Special dietary, health and/or physical considerations.
Visit the CCIS (College Consortium for International Studies) Web site (www.ccisabroad.org) and read the information pertinent to the program/s you are interested in. Bergen belongs to this consortium and the programs listed are the ones available to you. Read about the school, the location, the courses, the costs, and the housing arrangements. Generally, programs in Europe are more expensive than the programs in Central and South America.
- Set up an appointment with the Study Abroad Advisor, Prof. Amparo Codding (201-689-7601) to discuss your interests and your options and the application process.
- Bring a copy of your graduation check to see what courses you have taken and how many courses you still need to graduate.
- Request a breakdown of the cost of the program; you may use it if you apply for financial aid.
- Obtain a preliminary application packet
- After your preliminary application has been completed, reviewed, and accepted, you may begin your CCIS online application process. This application requires letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and an official BCC transcript. If your application is accepted, your study abroad advisor and you will be notified. At this point, you will meet again with Professor Codding to complete a course selection form. Every effort will be made to ensure that the courses selected will meet your graduation requirements and that you receive credit for these courses upon successful completion of the study abroad program. Even though you will be taking your courses overseas, you will continue to be registered as a BCC student. The grades you earn in the program will appear in your BCC transcript and will count towards your GPA.
- All program costs must be paid in full to the bursar’s office when the bill is presented, prior to your departure. You must be prepared to pay the bill immediately; BCC will not forward the funds to the sponsoring institution until your payment is made. A non-refundable $125.00 per semester study abroad fee is added to BCC study abroad program costs to cover the necessary special handling and processing.