“Call it a transformative experience.” That’s how Jasmine Sanchez describes the impact of her spring 2017 MiraCosta College study abroad program in Spain, a program that enabled her to take weekend excursions to Morocco, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, all while enrolling in a full slate of courses that helped her transfer to UCLA last fall. “It was the best thing I ever did,” said Sanchez, who earned an associate degree in Spanish at MiraCosta, is seeking a bachelor’s degree in Arabic and hopes to work as an FBI special agent. “You’re living and traveling in a place you never thought you’d be and you find yourself thinking, ‘wow, this is my life right now?’ It changes you as a person. It opens you up.”
Sanchez is among a small but growing number of MiraCosta College students who have taken part in the study abroad program that each year sends a dozen or more students to England in the fall and Spain in the spring.
Applications are now being accepted for a fall 2018 study abroad trip to London. The semester-long program requires students to enroll in 12 units and provides participants with 12 classes to choose from, including Contemporary Social Problems, Introduction to English Literature, Introduction to Shakespeare, and Introduction to the Visual Arts. All students are required to take the field trip and cultural exploration course Humanities 120, British Civilization. In addition, one-day excursions are available to Oxford, Stonehenge and Salisbury, Brighton, and elsewhere. The spring 2019 program will be in Seville, Spain.
MiraCosta’s program is part of a partnership involving several community colleges in Southern California; it is organized by the American Institute For Foreign Study, a privately-owned travel company that has been managing study abroad programs for more than half a century. All courses are taught by California Community Colleges system faculty and are transferable to the California State University and the University of California systems. Students must be 18 or older, must have already completed 12 units of degree-applicable college credit, and must have a grade point average of at least. 2.5.
“Study abroad provides an exciting opportunity for MiraCosta College students to expand their education beyond the classroom and into a historic, world-class city imbued with culture,” Scavone said. Sanchez is a believer. Sanchez said she hadn’t ventured much beyond Tijuana to visit family before study abroad came along. All that changed when she saw a flyer advertising a semester in Spain. “I decided to check it out and learn more,” she said. “I was thinking there was no way I could afford this, but I ended up getting a Gilman Scholarship that paid for a good chunk of the program.” “You hear people all the time saying they want to travel someday,” Sanchez said. “It’s always ‘someday.’ And the fact is, for most people, ‘someday’ never comes. When you have an opportunity like this to study in another country, spend time there and learn about different cultures and different people, you have to take it.”
Study abroad workshops are set for March 8 at noon in Room 1201 at the Oceanside Campus; March 14 at noon in the Student Center at the San Elijo Campus; April 3 at 6 p.m. in the Student Center at the San Elijo Campus; April 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 1202 at the Oceanside Campus; and May 15 at noon in Room 1201 at the Oceanside Campus. All sessions are one hour. Further information is available at www.miracosta.edu/studyabroad, by calling 760.795.6897, or by emailing your questions to email@example.com.