The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

    See the world; study abroad

    See the world; study abroad

    Tyler Heberle | Staff Writer | [email protected]

    Program participants explain the value of a semester overseas for students

    Encyclopedia Britannica Editor William Robertson Smith once defined Florence, Italy as the city where the Renaissance originated. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, it served as the center for new experiences and enlightenment.

    This semester, 16 students from City College and American River College will get their own chance at enlightenment in the popular tourist town by attending classes there weekly. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in trips to nearby cities and other cultural activities.

    The Study Abroad program works with other institutions to give students an international experience, according to Los Rios Study Abroad Assistant Director Lizzy Lynch.

    “We work for a company, the American Institute for Foreign Study, and we have been going to Florence every spring for many years,” said Lynch.

    “By far, the most popular program has been Florence,” said Los Rios Study Abroad Director Jesus Frank Malaret. “And that’s not just since it’s been here, but also in the history of the program.”

    Los Rios has participated in the Study Abroad program for approximately 10 years, according to Lynch.

    Each year, one professor represents the Los Rios district in Florence. English Professor Marci Selva fulfilled this role in 2010 and now speaks highly of her experience.

    “Walking out of my apartment door every morning and seeing the cathedral right there in front of me gave me a sense of being part of the culture,” Selva said, “as did walking in a huge crowd across the Ponte Vecchio or having a picnic in the Boboli Gardens.”

    The faculty representative for each district guides a particular field of study. This spring Patrice Gibson, an anthropology professor at American River College, represents both Los Rios and American River College’s anthropology department.

    “Classes are held Monday through Thursday,” Gibson said. “Then often there will be an activity or visit to a nearby town on a Friday.”

    There will be other activities as well, Gibson added, including attending sporting events, cultural classes and musical events.

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    “The academic courses offered by the four faculty members are taught in English,” Gibson said. “However, in Florence students are offered the opportunity to have two hours of Italian instruction.”

    Malaret said that the Study Abroad program has not seen a massive spike in participants. Approximately the same number of students participates each year. According to Malaret, counselors and financial aid advisers are in charge of publicizing the program a lot more than it had been before.

    “We get a lot of students that now are aware of the program because they talked to a counselor,” Malaret says. “And we have tried to go around and do informational meetings.”

    Despite these efforts, only an elite group of cities seems to draw students’ interest. Malaret said that students tend to find Italy geographically and culturally enticing, but added that another incentive is that it is less expensive than the other cities in the program.

    “The program directors have been struggling with the idea of expanding the cities in which the program is held,” Malaret said. “The difficulty is that Europe seems to continue to be the most attractive place for a lot of students.”

    The Study Abroad program is working to find sites on other continents that will draw new students. Malaret said Shanghai and Buenos Aires are two possible options.

    Regardless of the destination, Malaret said he believes that learning in another country is a beneficial experience for anyone.

    “It’s going to give you a broader view of the world, that’s for sure,” Malaret said. “If I hadn’t gone on education abroad programs, I probably never would have developed the interest I did in education.”

    Students with newfound wanderlust can also study abroad in Florence this summer. Information sessions for these trips are held on Los Rios campuses, and information is available online on the study abroad website.


    For more information about the study abroad program, visit the program’s website at or visit the office located in LRC 236.

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