Students take a trip to Florence, Italy

Study Abroad program attends classes overseas

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

The Contra Costa Community College School District has been sending students to study abroad for decades now. The most recent group of students are currently in Florence, Italy for the 2023 spring semester.

Students and teachers have been in Italy for three weeks already and they will spend 10 more as they continue their education in the European country. 

LMC Art Professor Eric Sanchez spent time as a student at LMC studying abroad but now as a teacher he’s able to notice how much the program has advanced since his days as a student. 

“One nice change is that they now use apartments for students which have a kitchen. When I was a student it was set up in a hotel without a kitchen,” said Sanchez. 

He also noted that the use of technology is a lot more prevalent now than it was when he was a student studying abroad. Students are now more easily connected to friends and family at home with the internet. Sanchez said he was completely separated from his friends and family during his time studying abroad. 

“It was a good thing for me, but that varies from person to person,” said Sanchez. 

LMC Art Professor Ken Alexander has been working with the study abroad program since 1999 and noticed as the years have gone on, the students’ bond has grown stronger with each other.

“1999 students differ from 2010 students but students who traveled after COVID were the most caring of one another. They really built a strong camaraderie and family bond during their trip,” Alexander said.

Before leaving for Florence, the school district asked Sanchez, “How are you going to use Florence as your classroom?” This was easy for Sanchez since he is teaching art history and Florence is one of the most historically important cities in the world when it comes to art. 

“Our drawing classes sometimes are held outside. We get to see the famous sculptures and art from the area as well as going on field trips to see the famous buildings and churches in the area,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez also added that on these field trips the students will be able to get as close as five feet to famous sculptures from famous Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo. 

Alexander usually travels abroad with students once a decade but with him feeling his teaching career is coming to an end, he applied to travel to Florence for spring semester 2024.

“I’m not always applying but I’m getting towards the end of my teaching career. These trips are worth adjusting your life to experience,” Alexander said. 

Every spring semester students will travel to Florence, Italy but for fall semesters, the location changes each year. This past fall semester students traveled to London but for the 2023 fall semester, students will travel to Barcelona, Spain.