Friday, November 1, 2013

TTC Offers Courses in a Foreign Country: How Students can Study Abroad

by Candice Bizzell
           Would you jump at the chance to visit the British Museum in London, taste the wine from the Tuscany area of Italy or snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Belize? If you could go and get credit for school, wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake? Well, here is your chance to do just that. Students at Trident Technical College have a chance every Maymester to study abroad.
For six years now, TTC has offered study abroad programs for students in many different fields.  The most popular trip is the London trip, which covers three different literature courses. This last Maymester, five different groups went overseas and received credit in classes that pertain to their field of study.
Ms. Patricia Agnew started the TTC study abroad program. She took hospitality and culinary students to Florence in Italy. Ms. Cathy Schleicher took nursing students to Kenya. The success of these programs opened the door for other study abroad trips at TTC.
This past year, the art history and literature majors went to Greece while another group went to London and Dublin for credit in literature courses. The Nursing and EMS students went to Belize, and hospitality and photography students went to Florence, Italy.

This past Maymester, I had the once in a lifetime chance to go to Florence, Italy. I had been to Jamaica before, but there was no comparison. Going overseas is an experience that is unexplainable. It is a different experience for each person. I personally love culture and arts and definitely got more than my brain could process during the seven days we spent in Florence.
Being lost in the streets of Florence is an experience beyond mere words. I found little shops and streets that were unique on my trip. Conversing with the locals, using hand gestures and “acting” to get information was at first frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. The last three days of the trip was spent at a vineyard, or an “agriturismo” as it is called in Italy.It was our time to relax and decompress. I don’t think I would ever have the same experience, even if I went back on my own, because of the group dynamic. I now have plans to travel in the near future, locally and abroad.
I have to thank my advisor Evan Shephard for collaborating with Patricia Agnew and providing the students the opportunity to experience a new culture. The opportunity to study abroad should be discussed with the student’s advisor. The Study Abroad program offers students in different majors to receive credits for certain courses offered.  Students must be over 18. Be aware that some courses have a GPA and prerequisite requirement. This information can be clarified with the directors of the Study Abroad programs.
The many benefits of studying abroad are not limited to the credits or the souvenirs that students bring home. According to Coordinator for International Education at TTC Dr. Katharine Purcell, “Students who study abroad have a greater chance of getting a job in their fields and gain a better cultural aspect.” Dr. Purcell explains that when you go overseas, you have to navigate medieval cities, communicate in a foreign language and calculate currency exchange, thus improving cognitive skills that employers are looking for.
She also says; “studying aboard improves a person’s personality.” She explains that when a student takes a trip overseas with another 10 to 20 people, it can be challenging. “Students must learn to cope with others in close quarters, to encounter new cultures, and to accept the occasional travel hiccups of bad weather and late trains; as a result, students that study abroad are more open minded and conscientious.”
 “The best part is that you make life long friendships and also learn to tolerate people from different cultures and backgrounds,” student Yoshika Johnson said. Ms. Johnson went to Florence, Italy for ten days for the combined hospitality and food photography Study Abroad class. Ms. Johnson graduated in 2013 with her Associates in Commercial Graphics in Photography, but went on the trip for the experience.
Ms. Agnew, the advisor for the recent Florence, Italy trip, expresses that “because this group included students and faculty members from two different disciplines, the cross-collaboration was truly exciting, with blended energy and mutual sharing of experiences and skills that enriched the trip immeasurably.”
Maymester 2014 trips will be announced in October. Students can check with their advisor to see if there are any trips in their field. If not, they can suggest to their advisor about trips to study abroad. TTC offers financial aid, and a few scholarships are available to help students who are interested in studying abroad. For more information on TTC Maymester programs and other study abroad opportunities, please visit the TTC International Education site in Portal. Get your passport now, study abroad in May!
Did you go on a trip this past Maymester?
Trident Times would love to hear about your experience and see the photos you took. Leave us a comment below!


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