Studying abroad and its possibilities

A new language. A new country. A new experience. People get all of those things, and more, when they study abroad.

Some people do not like the idea of going abroad and studying general courses. For those students, there is the Global Internship Program, an unpaid internship that is two months long and happens over the summer.

A short-term program is happening in Brazil in July-August 2019. Students will be able to spend two weeks there, studying Anthropology 110 – Cultural Anthropology. Out of 48 hours in total, 16 hours are spent here, in the United States, in a pre-departure class.

Professor John Ulloa, the program leader of the Brazilian short-term program, explained that this class has a goal of familiarizing the students with the culture they will get to know, so the students can have informed conversations with Brazilians and not feel lost about what is happening there.

Ulloa talked about how it can change how the students will see the world and how they will be exposed to different things.

“They end up learning a lot about themselves as much as they do about the country and the people they are visiting,” Ulloa said about the students who experience the opportunity of studying abroad.

Stephanie Wells, a program services coordinator in the Global Learning Programs office, explained how they have been trying to come up with different types of programs in order to meet the different needs that students may have. She studied abroad when she was 20 years old. She went to Guatemala and stayed there for a full summer.

“It put me on the path that I am today,” Wells said. “It helped determine my career interests, my life interests. It helped me develop a skill that I still use today.”

A different country means a different culture and being respectful of that is an important point.

Charissa Kelly, who studies sociology and psychology at Skyline, went to Costa Rica and loved the experience.

“I believe culture plays a part in shaping who we are,” Kelly said. “Getting to really know someone includes getting to know more about their culture as well.”

The study abroad office also helps students apply for scholarships.

Zaid Ghori, director of special international programs, said that there are government scholarships for Americans to study abroad.

“Studying abroad really opens different doors for students that previously were never accessible to them,” Ghori said. “Especially community college students.”

Ghori talked about the program and how he and his office are trying to create something that is grounded in equity, so every student can have access to these programs.

Wells talked about how she likes to tell the story of the student who saw the poster of a program, doubted if they could do it, and then went to the office to find out if they are eligible for the scholarship. Ultimately, the student got the scholarship and got to study abroad.

There are people who want to help the students find opportunities to study abroad. The programs are made for the students.

For instance, Ghori and Ulloa went on a familiarization trip to Brazil early this year to make sure it was appropriate to take a group of students there. They visited São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to get a sense of how things are going to happen next August.

Ulloa explained that he wants to know the place when he is there with students. He does not want to feel lost. It will be the first time going to Brazil as a class, but he has been there before.

“I want my students to be informed and observant about their surroundings,” Ulloa said.

The students who are going to travel to Brazil will be able to share experiences with Brazilian students. Ghori said they are working with the University of Rio de Janeiro. Some of the activities in this short-term program can be with the students of this university, so they can get a more immersive experience.