Matt Rourke, Associated Press
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, Friday, June 19, 2015.

TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie has taken three trips abroad over the last year at an expense to New Jersey taxpayers of nearly $124,000.

Christie says the trips gave him an opportunity to promote New Jersey, but critics say they also helped him beef up his foreign policy resume as he considers a White House run.

Direct benefits to the state are hard to quantify, but some New Jersey academic institutions report positive results from the governor's travels.

Mercer County Community College President Patricia Donohue says Christie's trip to Mexico resulted in a grant for Mexican learners to come to her school.

The head of a life sciences networking group says the organization recently inked a memorandum of understanding with its British counterpart.