From the emerald rainforests of Costa Rica to the cobblestone roads of Japanese temples, the bustling streets of India to the diverse landscapes of Ghana, students have the opportunity to explore rich cultures through study abroad programs.
Established by Salt Lake Community College’s Engagement Learning Office, the programs offered reach far corners of the globe.
“Leaving your home to go to another country with people you don’t know, thrown into an unfamiliar culture, is a truly transformative experience,” says Cassi Hoffmeister, engagement learning specialist at SLCC.
Although the prospect of being fully immersed in an unknown environment may frighten some, Hoffmeister believes her own experiences abroad in London and Paris reduced her fear of leaving familiar territory.
“It’s a terrifying thing to go by yourself. But I came back from my trip far more confident than I ever was,” says Hoffmeister. “More importantly, I had the confidence to go abroad on my own.”
Personal growth aside, Hoffmeister says taking part in study abroad programs also has significant impact on how employers and academic institutions look at a student’s body of work.
“Not only does it transform students and help them stand out, it allows future employers or admissions officers to see that a student is curious about understanding the world and other cultures,” she explains.
Hoffmeister adds that in many cases, study abroad and global experience becomes the topic of discussion in employment and admissions processes.
Through connections made abroad, one SLCC alumna who studied in India has been asked to return to the country to help establish lice clinics. Hoffmeister says this is a testament to the positive side effects of a student expanding comfort zones and making a mark as a global citizen.
In addition, each trip offers the chance to engage with the communities the students encounter through teaching, entrepreneurship, research and day-to-day interaction, Hoffmeister explains.
Study abroad opportunities for spring 2019 include trips to Japan and Costa Rica, while trips to Ghana and India are scheduled for summer 2019. Each trip costs roughly $3500 per student.
While each program is accompanied by a substantial price tag, SLCC offers students grants to help cover costs.
The Gilman Scholarship, in connection with the U.S. Department of State, offers students with Federal Pell Grants and limited financial means the opportunity to study abroad without cost. SLCC also offers a grant, the Boren Scholarship, specifically for students interested in study abroad who are not receiving federal grants for school.
For India and Costa Rica, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid passport, have a minimum GPA of 2.0, show proof of insurance and proof that travel outside the United States is permitted.
The same standards apply to the Japan and Ghana trips, which also have academic prerequisites. Applicants must have completed English 1010 to be eligible for study abroad in Ghana, while the Japan trip requires three semesters of Japanese language courses.