Mesa Community College sent more than 100 students abroad this summer to destinations such as the United Kingdom, Mexico, Africa and more.
Among those students were Kymri Bouldin, 20, who studied in Namibia, Africa, and Scott Phillips, 32, who studied in Xalapa, Mexico.
Bouldin, who is now studying physiology as a junior at the University of Arizona, chose to study abroad because she had heard so many wonderful things from others about their own experiences abroad.
Phillips, who is currently pursuing a degree in secondary education at MCC, chose to study abroad in order to enhance his Spanish.
“(I) wanted to be submerged in another culture and bring a different perspective to future students and fellow faculty members,” he said.
Typically, students earn six or seven credits during a five-week summer study abroad program. While in Africa, Bouldin completed a natural history course and a photography course, totaling six credits. Phillips was enrolled in a cultural diversity course and a Spanish language course. In addition, he took part in a one credit service learning program in which he had the opportunity to aid teachers at a local elementary school.
As a part of the Namibia program, Bouldin never stayed in one place for long, traveling throughout different parts of the country on a consistent basis. Phillips, on the other hand, had a more stable experience.
He lived with a host family during his time studying abroad and became very close with them as a result. He described them as “very loving, very appreciative, very caring and warm, they wanted to share their culture so much.” He plans to go back to Xalapa this winter and stays with his host family.
Other students were present during Phillips’ and Bouldin’s study abroad program. They traveled with a group of fellow Maricopa Community College students and at least one Maricopa Community College program director. The program director is a Maricopa Community College faculty member who, in addition to other responsibilities, taught the courses. Classes were scheduled to fit the students’ needs and travel schedule.
While each student did have very different experiences in their respective county, the community of each culture is what stood out to them the most about the culture.
“I fell in love with the people when I was there, it was very humbling … they were perfectly happy and content with their lives,” Bouldin said.
“(I) miss the openness of their culture. We live in fear. I feel like there is a lot of love there. They are just warmer and so simple,” Phillips said.
Both Bouldin and Phillips were enthusiastic to recommend studying abroad to fellow students. “(I) recommend studying abroad anywhere to any student. You experience things you’re never going to experience in a classroom,” Bouldin said.
The cost of study abroad programs may seem a bit high, roughly $2,000 excluding airfare, although the price may differ depending on the program. Bouldin and Phillips were creative in paying for the study abroad costs, receiving different forms of financial aid.
“There are lot of outlets and resources for money if you put the work in. There’s a lot of funding to cut that price down,” Phillips said.
General information sessions for study abroad programs are held selected Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Maricopa Room at the Southern and Dobson campus. To find out more information, contact Yvonne Schmidt, study abroad coordinator, at 480-461-7870 or the program coordinator directly. All this information and more can be found at http://www.mesacc.edu/international/education-abroad.