Study abroad while in community college

Alicia Sanchez, News Editor

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Studying abroad may seem like a distant future or not even a possibility for students in community college. Many students are not aware that they can study abroad way before transferring to a 4-year university. Others also may not know about the varying types of scholarships available, especially for community college students.

In present time, not many minorities––both in race and education such as community college students in this case–– study abroad either for lack of money or ignorance. Most minority students have no knowledge of all the programs available for students who wish to study abroad but are limited by economic means.  Because of this there are scholarships available such as the Gilman Scholarship.

Spanish professor and study abroad coordinator Leticia P. Lopez says: “the Gilman Scholarship aims to diversify the face of education in studying abroad­­––level the playing field.”

This scholarship offers financial aid for students traveling for a purpose. The only requirements are to answer their questions effectively and provide feedback after the trip if accepted.

At Mesa, there is currently the Study in Madrid, Spain program offering 2 courses in Spanish and 1 in Art History. Activities in this study abroad trip include scavenger hunts throughout Spain, optional excursion trips to El Escorial, Ruta del Quijote, running of the bulls in Pamplona, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Granada plus freedom to roam the city alone or with groups. The students in this trip will continuously be practicing the language because they will be surrounded by this culture; there is no escaping.  This trip is possible because of the Modern Language studies Abroad program, which allows students to “pay for what they get” (Lopez). The founder of the program required no office in order to organize the trips in order to help reduce price for students. They do not pay extra money for faculty.  This is the first trip from Mesa College to Spain in fifteen years.

Lopez has traveled extensively both alone and in groups studying abroad. She has always noticed that her students change throughout the course of the trip. They become more “motivated to be involved in future trips and gain a sense of self-discovery that becomes refreshing after being in the self-imposed Southern California bubble for so long.”

There are many more programs and organizations designed for college students such as CIS Abroad, CEA Global Education, and AIFS Broad. Also, there is a non-profit International Volunteer program that allows students to provide volunteer opportunities while traveling the world in order to truly experience the country’s culture.

Community college students have the possibility of participating in programs from other colleges and even 4-year universities. For more information about studying abroad in Spain–– or in general––and all of the opportunities for scholarships available: