Earn a degree and travel the world

Faith Garland
MesaCC Legend

More than two thousand MCC students have studied in another country since 1986. England, Guanajuato, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, and France are among the learning hubs. The program allows students to choose where their next course(s) will be taken. Culture, communication and history are the most common subjects taught in any of the study abroad program destinations. “This year, [students] will learn how to compose better pictures and use what they see around them to capture the feelings they want, and to capture the memories they wish to have,” Mary Aldridge, director of the England program, said.  “They will gain a better understanding of what makes Britain and its people and its culture unique.” The prospect of studying abroad can be overwhelming.

To help decide the best place to visit information sessions are offered every fall and spring semester at both the Red Mountain and Southern and Dobson campuses.  As part of the courses that accompany the study abroad program include Introduction to Photography, World Politics, and Intercultural Communication, among many others, all of which are specific to a country.
For example, if someone is going to Italy one course choice is an art history class, like Renaissance through Contemporary Art. If Ireland is the preferred location, then students would take a religion class, like Neolithic to Early Medieval. Each year, two courses are switched out to have more of a variety in a particular designation (culture, humanities, social behaviors, etc…).

England Program One of the many programs offered by the college is the Britain trip which is a month-long visit that takes students throughout the country. It’s one of the most popular study spots that has been around for more than 10 years.  During the stay students reside in Cleaves Hall, a former lace factory in the heart of the Lace Market in Nottingham. Steps from the residence is Nottingham College, the institution MCC students attend while in England. Classes are held in the Adams Building campus, a merging of Central Nottingham College and New Nottingham College.
Students are expected to learn while at Nottingham and apply those lessons as they connect with the local community. “All courses stress the role of British–and French–themes as students can learn both in and out of the classroom while on the program.”

Students are given the opportunity to explore and sightsee prominent locations like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. Students also visit Paris where they visit the catacombs.
“The program wishes to reinforce the role of Britain and France in our lives and to foster an appreciation of their distinct cultures,” English instructor Aldridge explained. Guanajuato Program
The Guanajuato, Mexico program is a location that offers MCC students a view to a different culture and traditions.  “This is one of the oldest programs we have in Maricopa,” Jaime Herrera, Guanajuato program director, said.  Herrera explained that the Guanajuato visit started in 1986 after the wife of a faculty member suggested the city as the Mexico location for a study abroad program. Herrera said studying abroad is about learning new cultures and even students learning about their own background.

“The focus of the México program varies depending sometimes on the courses we offer,” English instructor Herrera said, “from photography to communication to Spanish to literature to sociology to history, but overall the focus is on culture. There is the academic emphasis and students do get course credit.” “While students are taking courses, a lot of what they learn happens outside of the classroom, sometimes very spontaneously and very naturally,” the English instructor added. Belgium Program There are many other studies that take students to other parts of the world. For students interested in studying European business strategies, then Belgium is the one to join. “This program started out as an International Business and Communications course,” Brian Dille, Belgium program director, said. Now it offers other courses that will further help students pursuing a career in business.

The European Union is headquartered there and it’s within a day trip of multiple destinations including Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and Paris. Students can also visit NATO headquarters in Brussels. Ireland Program The Ireland program focuses on Irish history and religion.  Program director Barry Vaughan said he visited Ireland on a personal trip more than 10 years ago and realized the country would be perfect for a study abroad program. He said the country is also rich in culture, literature, and art. Philosophy instructor Vaughan said the city of Athlone became the perfect location for MCC students to visit because it’s cheaper to live there and the city is very interested in getting students to stay in their accommodations.  Students get the opportunity to visit Dublin City, Trim Castle, Galway City, and the Burren National Park. “Research strongly shows a correlation between participating in a study abroad program and academic success. Study abroad participants have higher than average graduation rates and GPAs,” Vaughan said.

New study abroad programs: Italy and the French Riviera Italy, home to the Roman Colosseum, is a destination that was recently added as a study abroad program. It is considered the most popular country in the world. Program director Dennis Wilson said the language and its long history beyond its own borders makes Italy an ideal destination for students to learn about the world.
“Italy was the birthplace of the renaissance that helped bring Europe out of the dark ages. I want students to have their own renaissance,” biology instructor Wilson said. This summer marks the first year a select student travel to the French Riviera. Students will stay with host families for 26 days and visit Nice, Monaco, Cannes, and Antibes.  Students will take the Beginning French Conversation I course, which teaches students the basic sentence structure, pronunciations, and vocabulary of French conversation. They will be able to apply what they learn in shops, restaurants, markets, and train stations.

A marine biology course will be offered in the future. The Benefits The countries included in the study abroad program were each chosen for its historical significance and its cultural background.
What all the programs have in common is the goal of helping students see and experience a new culture, expanding their knowledge of the world, and becoming globally engaged people.
Traveling to a foreign country may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. That’s why the directors of the programs said it is important for them to help as many students as they can take advantage of the opportunity to meet people well beyond MCC.

Mesa Legend Staff

Mesa Legend Staff

Stories contributed by MCC journalism students. See end of each article for corresponding authors.
Mesa Legend Staff

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