BY AMANDA ALLER
While movies of our youth showed Hilary Duff and the Olsen twins racing through Europe on their overseas excursions, students at the County College of Morris can mix that excitement with college credits through a study abroad partnership with the College Consortium for International Students (CCIS).
The consortium partners with a range of different schools, from large universities and state institutions to other smaller community colleges, including CCM.
As a CCM student, you get to travel with a slight discount and you also receive a credit transfer, which is arranged for you before you venture off to your temporary home abroad.
“If you’re a non CCIS member you can still apply to a CCIS program but you won’t get the discount,” said James Hart, chairperson of intercultural communications at CCM. “It would be like if you were a visiting student at a school. So you’d have to request a transcript which would then be sent to your home school. Here at CCM, all of that is already pre arranged so that we can make it as easy as possible.”
The prices range from as little as 4,000 dollars to as much as 20,000 dollars. The price depends on whether you’re going for a whole semester or for a couple of weeks in the summer. Some of the institutions offer summer programs, which are typically less expensive than the longer semester programs.
“I picked a major and then a place that made sense for that major,” said Sabrina O’Toole, marine biology major at CCM. “When I went to Hawaii, I had a scuba diving class so I was getting hands on experience.”
Summer programs are usually as short as two to three weeks and as long as six weeks. They’re similar to CCM’s summer classes, which are broken down into five week mini-semesters. Whatever class you take during the mini-semester counts as a regular class, just a condensed version. When someone goes abroad, there is always an academic component, though it may be as little as a three-credit class.
Kelly Guapacho, CCM alumna, fondly reminisced about the time she spent at the Lorenzo De Medici Institute in Florence, Italy. She stayed in a hostel while she was there and didn’t meet her room mate until move in day. She said her only regret was taking too many classes but that she spent her weekends traveling as much as she could.
“I recommend it to anyone seeking adventure” Guapacho said. “It was enlightening. Spiritual. It was everything all at once. It was amazing.”
According to Hart, CCM chose to partner with CCIS because they offer a wide variety of study locations. There are 26 countries available for travel, some with as many as five programs.
“I thought the application process was going to be a lot harder than it was,” said Julia Ryan, communication major at CCM. “I had to write a reflective essay on why I wanted to go to England and fill out a request for transcript form, which altogether, only took me an hour to finish.”
“There are so many advantages of studying abroad,” Hart said. “It increases your intercultural sensitivity and creates important communication skills which can apply to people within your own culture. It teaches you how to make yourself understood along with how to connect with someone who you don’t have a lot in common with.”