Studying far and wide

Interested in studying in a foreign country? Well here at Bellevue College, there are several places coming up within the year that, if eligible, you can apply to. For the past 20 years, BC and 15 other community colleges have been working together to help organize a way for students to study abroad.

Carol McKee, English Language Institute lead Instructor and study aboard coordinator here at BC suggests that students plan ahead and decide what country they would like to go to at least six months ahead of time. Students also must have at least a 2.5 grade-point-average  and need to have not one, but two letters of recommendation. Also, a one paged essay about why students want to study abroad is required.

Study abroad opportunities for the winter of 2013 have already passed, but fear not, spring and fall applications are still available. Some of the countries that BC students have had and will have the chance to go to are Australia-New Zealand, Spain, Italy and South Africa. “We want everyone who can afford to, to go,” stated McKee. It doesn’t matter if you have financial aid, student loans or even using your hard earned savings working at a dry cleaners.

McKee said: “The experience is worth it. You learn a lot from being in school, but being completely ‘immersed’ in a different environment, you learn that there is a lot more to the world than just Bellevue. You become more independent and learn more about yourself and learn you can do things you never thought you could.”

In Australia and New Zealand students will stay in dorms opposed to Florence, Italy for example, students will have a host family, which is beneficial since going to Italy is more focused on being plunged into not only the culture, but also the language. McKee said that if she could live in any foreign country, it would be France. “I love the romantic culture and I speak French. I just love it.”

The application fee is an added $50. To take classes in Florence, Italy based on an enrollment of 20 or more participants, each fee per person comes out to an average of $6,945 whereas Valencia, Spain costs around $6,700-6,900. Though this may seem a bit pricey in today’s economy, there are numerous options that can be taken to help lighten the load on expenses.

A scholarship such as the Gilman, which is an award $4,000 to $5,000, is granted to eligible students. Also, studying abroad from a community college such as BC is far less expensive than a four-year university.

Going to college in a different country, which could seem like a whole new world to some, may be a bit intimidating and pricey these days, but with the right dedication and organization, students can have an opportunity of a life-time, to learn not only about who they are as a student, but potentially as an individual. Studying abroad opens the door to an education that is priceless.