Before studying abroad in Spain, Stephanie Sylvester, a Broward College student who was in Spain last semester as part of BC’s study abroad program, never left the U.S.
“I always wanted to travel out of the country. Before coming to Spain, I had never traveled outside of the United States. I wanted to leave and experience a different culture and spot the differences in them in comparison to the U.S,” she said.
Spain is just one of the many opportunities that BC students 18 and over with a 2.5 GPA can choose for study abroad. BC has been giving students opportunities to study abroad for over 20 years and there are different components of studying abroad, said Violeta Rivera, Specialist of Study Abroad and Global Engagement at BC.
The options for study abroad include faculty-led, which is short-term and takes place during spring break and the summer term and College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS), which is the long-term study abroad.
Through CCIS, BC sponsors study abroad programs in Spain, Germany and Peru, and offers students opportunities to study abroad in nearly 25 other countries, according to the Study Aboard website.
“Students who do long-term study abroad, CCIS, are really grateful because the program includes a lot of things such as food and students can live with their family so they can immerse in the culture,” said Rivera.
“With the Faculty-Led program, students can travel for one week or three. If students think that it is too expensive to do we offer them scholarships to help them find money to do study abroad,” Rivera said.
Every semester, two to four students travel for a whole semester, and around 40 travel for the short-term every year, she said.
This year, the study abroad programs include zoology in Namibia, which is full, and two in the summer for Service Learning in Japan and Sri Lanka.
“Students that are going with us will help us promote the program and spread the word so more students can participate,” Rivera said.
Studying abroad can also help with cultural confidence, which means students will have an understanding that there are other people who may have different cultures, beliefs, religions and languages, but they know to accept it and at least know that they need to work with it, not against it.
“Students who wanted to travel to another country and thought it was not possible have learned something specific about the country they are in. They have the chance to see there is a culture in every part of the world,” Rivera said.
Studying abroad is a life changing for many students, including Sylvester, who now wants to travel more.
“Being well-traveled is a gift that teaches you cultural tolerance and appreciation. You get the chance to represent your country in a totally different place, and that’s an honor. The most special thing about studying abroad is the outlet because you get to travel even more. For example, being in Spain gave me amazing access to travel to other counties in Europe. I got the chance to experience more than one culture in one study abroad trip,” Sylvester said.
For more information, visit broward.edu/international/studyabroad, or contact Rivera at email@example.com.