State Department recognizes PCC’s support of Education Abroad Program

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Portland Community College has entered the big league, nabbing top national marks from the U.S. Department of State.

For the first time, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced a list of top-producing institutions, honoring those with the highest number of Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Award recipients in 2016-17. They’re being recognized for making international study and internships more accessible to all students, and within the national community college division, PCC ranks highest.

Photo of Godzilla over Toho theater and the busy crowd of Shinjuku.

Godzilla peers over Toho Theater in Japan, in a photo taken by Dalton Lyons who was there to study Japanese.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program supports Pell eligible U.S. students for international study and internships by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduates. Since the program’s establishment in 2001, more than 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 28,000 Gilman scholars to 145 countries around the globe.

“The Gilman Program aims to make study abroad, and its career advantages, more accessible and inclusive for American students. These diverse American students gain critical skills overseas that expand their career options and ability to make an impact in their home communities,” said Heidi Manley, chief of USA Study Abroad at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Anne Frey, manager of the college’s Education Abroad Program, shares similar observations.

“Studying abroad can help students increase their self-confidence, get a better understanding of their own cultural values, and build valuable skills for the job market,” she added. 

Students are awarded substantial scholarships, which can add up to $5,000 depending on the length of study and the financial need of the student. The scholarship monies go directly to students, and they can use the funds for a variety of costs related to their program beyond tuition: airline tickets, vaccines, and passport fees, among others.

PCC has been recognized in several categories: The number of scholarship recipients from a two-year Institution and total of first-generation college students, as well as variety of destinations.

Each year, several PCC study abroad programs are offered by faculty in locations around the world. Most programs are short (two to six weeks), take place during the summer, and all offer credit. These programs change from year to year.

This picture was taken July 8, 2018 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. When building it the deliberately made it 6 inches taller than the very famous one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Student in Cochabamba, Bolivia with the tallest statue of Jesus in the world behind him.

Some of the summer 2019 programs include “Women’s Health, Stress and Human Health in India,” “Business Communication in Chile,” “Engineering Fundamentals in Japan,” and “Math in England.” For a full list of all opportunities, visit the Education Abroad faculty led web site. The Gilman Scholarship can also be used for study abroad opportunities elsewhere, too.

So how did PCC do it? The Education Abroad Office works one-on-one with students to develop personally-tailored plans. As a national and competitive scholarship, Gilman applicants need to submit a polished essay. Plus, the Education Abroad Program is committed to supporting students throughout the entire process.

“We provide nuanced conversations tailored to each individual student and their needs,” said Frey. 

Some important deadlines are fast approaching for those interested in studying abroad. The PCC Education Abroad application is due Friday, Feb. 15. The spring deadline for the Gilman Scholarship is Tuesday, March 5. For those planning ahead, there is a fall Gilman Scholarship deadline, due the first Tuesday of October. This application is ideal for those who might need the confirmation of a scholarship award before applying to the Education Abroad program.

For questions about study abroad or how to finance it, contact the Education Abroad office to work one-on-one with staff and create a personalized plan. The Education Abroad Office can be reached at or at 971-722-7117.   


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There is one comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by bryan 10 months ago

Congrats, Anne and the study abroad department! Woo hoo!

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