New international director getting to know culture of JCC
Bethany Burgun wants to help students realize the world can be their classroom through international education.
In January, Jackson Community College welcomed Burgun as the new director of the International Student Institute. The College established an international student center in Bert Walker Hall for international students to gather and for JCC students interested in international learning experiences.
Burgun is an experienced traveler herself, having visited 30 countries around the world. Her previous positions include director of international student services at the University of Notre Dame, and prior to that, director of international alumni relations at Notre Dame. She was also a classroom teacher in K-12 for six years. Burgun and her husband, Dan, have two children. They plan to relocate to Jackson from the South Bend, Ind. area.
“This is a real opportunity to start and build something from the ground up,” Burgun said. “I love international education. This particular position is in part recruiting international students and developing study abroad programs. I like the focus on each aspect of international education.”
Burgun says she can relate to many JCC students from her own college experience.
“I’m a first-generation college graduate, and I was very much attracted to the community at large and coming to JCC to work with the overall mission of the institution. So to be able to do the work of international education and be able to do it in such an environment as JCC was really a draw for me.”
The institute will be a place for international students and American students planning to study abroad to gather and meet. It will also serve international students with visa and immigration issues. Burgun recognizes the value international education offers students in broadening their horizons and expanding their abilities to understand and work with others.
“Once relationships are formed between two people from vastly different backgrounds, there is a deepening appreciation for all human kind. We find that we are more alike than we are different.”