Study abroad, an experience of a lifetime

Have you ever wanted to travel and experience another culture? The Study Abroad Program offers students a life-changing experience to study in another country.

According to the Contra Costa Community College’s website,, the program has been running since 1986 and past students have studied in London, Paris, Florence, Spain and China. To be eligible in the program a student must be 18 years of age, have a GPA of 2.25 or higher and must have completed 12 college units.

There are students currently studying in London this year. In the meantime, applications are being accepted to study in Florence. The semester does not start until 2014 so students have time to plan in advance. There will be an opportunity to apply to study in Paris, that information will be posted on the Study Abroad website and blog once the schedule and teachers are determined. An orientation will be held September 18, from 5-6 p.m. at LMC in the Library R L-105.

The cost of participating in the Study Abroad program varies upon the destination you choose. According to the Study Abroad blog at, attending the program in Florence Italy will cost $7,695, which covers orientation, language and culture classes, a place to stay, museum tickets and Internet access. The cost to study in Paris will be similar to the price affiliated with Florence.

District Director of International Education Aleks Ilich believes the experience is well worth the price. “It’s an investment in your education that you can’t find anywhere else,” he said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to use their resources to get an education from a globalized perspective.”

If a student is worried about the price of the program, there are scholarships and financial aid available to those who qualify. The American Institute For Foreign Studies has a website with details on each location, scholarships and financial aid at

It is highly recommended that students attend an orientation for the program if they are interested in participating or have questions.

Art and Humanities Department Chair Ken Alexander taught twice in Florence and was the chair for the district of the Study Abroad community for 10 years.

Alexander advises that students who don’t think they can afford it, “should think about going to the orientation because it will tell them much more information about the program and what to expect.”

The orientation times for Florence and Paris can be found on DVC’s website at located under ‘Study Abroad.’ There are several different days and times listed, so if a student misses an orientation meeting they can attend another.

The program teaches students and teachers to use critical thinking. Alexander has seen the program change students’ lives.

“You grow up knowing how things work, where to go, where not to go, who to talk to, who not to talk to…. When you go to a foreign country, you are the outsider and don’t know how things work. Just understanding how other countries see the world is incredible. It’s not about just seeing, it’s about being. Everyone comes back another person,” he said.