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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Los Rios colleges offer students an opportunity to study abroad
Graphic created by Neezy Jeffery / [email protected]

Italy — like all  countries — has its own unique culture and special rhythm of life, and now Los Rios students have a chance to experience this for themselves through the district’s study abroad program.

On Wednesday, April 26, Los Rios colleges made a presentation via Zoom about studying abroad in Florence, Italy.

“I am just excited to share this opportunity with my students, our campus and the district,” said Diane Carlson, a Folsom Lake College faculty member who is currently in Florence.

The recurring program lasts 12 weeks with 18-28 spots available, and to qualify a student has to take 12 units per semester.

Los Rios is a part of the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium, which encompasses four community college districts.

According to Carlson, each of the four districts is sending one faculty member this semester. In most cases, they are GED professors so students can get most of the GED requirements in the program abroad. This semester, students can study sociology, kinesiology, economics and art.

While the Florence program costs just over $4,000, different programs have different prices and a number of scholarships can help cover the cost. The Los Rios Study Abroad Program is administered in partnership with AIFS, the American Institute for Foreign Study.

The most popular scholarships for the study abroad program are the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Campanelli Scholarship. 

“Be on top of the administration of the financial aid offices,” recommended Tory Davis, an international affairs major at Cosumnes River College, who is currently part of the program in Florence.

“Once I got accepted into the AIFS program through American River College, I told financial aid office counselors that I am looking for more opportunities. They sent me a whole list of scholarships,” he added.

During the presentation, the students shared their positive and negative points about life in Italy.

“It is a new experience, not just being in a new country, but experience of college itself,” said Isabella Caston, a history major at Folsom Lake College. The students in the program live in a dormitory or an apartment with roommates. To some this can be daunting but current students in the program say it helps with networking. .

“College is not about getting grades, it is also about building your network to actually put you on a platform that kind of catapults you into your career,” Davis said.

Students noted that culture shock in Italy is an intricate adjustment. Kyla Hall, a kinesiology major at Folsom Lake College, said, “They work to live, not live to work.”

The country is slow paced, with a break during the day, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Most of the students talked about a sense of relaxation and chill.

“The difference between Italy and the U.S. is that they take time to enjoy life and still manage to get more things done than we do in America,” Davis said.

According to Isabella Caston, the cost of everything, including groceries and restaurants, is relatively inexpensive in Florence.

“Italy is a lot cheaper than America,” Caston said.

Student’s found themselves constantly interested in the city’s infrastructure and nature..

“Another pleasant surprise is actually the amount of nature I’ve been able to find in Florence,” Hall said. “I didn’t have a single boring day, I just walked down random streets, and Florence has an endless number of places to find.”

Eva Acuña Olivas, a psychology major  at City College, recommended taking optional language classes before going to the country to have a little bit of conversational language.

The time difference with Florence is nine hours and in most cases, students start the program jetlagged immediately upon arrival.

“But I’ve had a lot of great people here who helped me get through the tough times,” Davis said.

The next program in Florence starts on May 28 and will last until July 2. Students can also apply to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain this upcoming fall semester.

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