Funding Resources Available
By Angela de Mesa
(ABOVE) A plaza in Cadiz, Spain taken by Allison Meins while studying abroad.
Studying abroad is a valuable learning option available to any Berkeley City College student. There are numerous resources available through the Peralta system with benefits to match.
Community college students can learn in exotic destinations like Cuba, Ethiopia, and Iceland! “The most popular destinations for students are in Europe,” said Drew Gephart, the International Service Manager of the Peralta Community College District. But students should not feel limited.
There is currently a program available at Laney College to go to Ghana during the Summer 2017 semester through the Dance department.
Another option is enrolling in an Automotive Technology class through the College of Alameda. This class includes a summer trip to Cuba where students learn from under the hoods of classic, vintage vehicles and experience the city of Havana.
These trips are considered official courses that will count as college credit to assist any student in achieving their academic goals, whether that is an AA degree or transferring to a four-year university.
UC Berkeley and other schools under the UC system also offer study abroad programs that Peralta students are able to participate in. “I had a student go to France through UC Berkeley’s study abroad program,” said Gephart. He aids students in the study abroad process, “[students] can always contact me. I help them create a plan and figure out what they want.”
That includes meeting with students to advise them, identifying the best program by location or course, finding classes that tie into their academic goals, and locating financial resources. Faculty members heading a specific program and Peralta’s own International Services manager are Berkeley City College students’ most valuable resources when exploring study abroad opportunities.
The financial factor of studying abroad is a realistic concern that has frightened some students away from pursuing this exciting academic opportunity. However, there are thousands of dollars worth of scholarships and grants available to motivated students. “IIE, the International Institute of Education, provides the largest study abroad scholarships,” according to Gephart. Financial awards for travel can be added to any aid received through FAFSA and other scholarship providers such as the Peralta Colleges foundation.
After consulting logistics with a faculty member, completing your passport application, and applying for financial aid, you will be ready to enjoy the benefits of traveling to a new country, immersing in a new culture, and earning college credit. Other benefits are, “a clean slate… you get to be whoever you want to be,” said Allison Meins, an alumnus of the UC education abroad program. When asked about the value of studying abroad in Spain, she said, “I got to know myself in a different capacity and that was the most rewarding.” Lessons from studying abroad go far beyond the classroom.
If you’re feeling curious and want to explore studying abroad, grab a pamphlet from the welcome desk at BCC to learn about opportunities and funding sources.
Visit: web.peralta.edu/international/study-abroad or reach out to Drew Gephart at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what your next adventure will be!