Tag Archives: study abroad

See the world, study abroad

By Apple Parry

Students who are interested in seeing the world, meeting new people, and trying new foods should check out the study abroad program at Whatcom Community College.

“It’s definitely worth it. I can almost guarantee it’s something you won’t forget for the rest of your life,” said Ulli Schraml, the associate director of international programs at Whatcom.

Over the next year, Whatcom students can attend study abroad trips around the world, in countries such as France, India, Morocco, and Spain.

Whatcom is not alone in this educational endeavor — it is working with 16 other colleges through the Whatcom Community College Consortium for Study Abroad.

Schraml said that working with the Consortium helps to recruit students, making the overall cost cheaper.

Included in the cost of the trip is housing, insurance, a public transportation pass, and group excursions, such as hiking trips or museum tours.

But students must foot the bill for airfare, a passport, and tuition, along with other less-obvious expenses.

“It definitely is a big challenge,” Schraml said, “plan ahead.”

The change of being abroad can help some struggling students, Schraml said, “Generally students who are not doing that well here are doing better abroad. It’s a new environment. It’s hands-on learning. Basically anyone can go.”

Lyon, France:

Lyon is a hot-spot for student tourism.

Upon arrival, there will be a tour of the ancient city and its 2,000-year-old historic center, plush with Roman architecture.

Students can look forward to cheese tasting, cooking classes, and a day trip to Beaune, a city revered among wine aficionados — also included are visits to the Roman amphitheater and, equally exciting, a chocolate shop.

Study abroad classes are tailored to fit the location by faculty. Professors teach classes that they have taught before in America and infuse them with a new angle appropriate to the country the class is visiting.

The class students who visit Lyon will be taking is “American Literature: Visions of France,” which is a five credit course.

This trip is planned for spring quarter. The application deadline is December 14, 2018.

Himachal Pradesh, India:

There is not much information about the trip to Himachal Pradesh, except that it will be in summer quarter and will be combined with an environmental literature class — the rest is TBD.

The application deadline is Jan 4, 2019.

Rabat, Morocco:

The trip to Rabat offers a new twist on the traditional study abroad experience: students will be staying with a host family.

Students can hope to experience Rabat’s rich and colorful culture by making bread, taking dance lessons, and going on a three-day excursion to the history-soaked city of Marrakesh.

Classes are varied and include subjects such as history, literature, and colloquial Moroccan Arabic lessons, which are taught by a local instructor.

This is the second study abroad opportunity of the summer. The application deadline for Morocco is May 15, 2019.

Barcelona, Spain:

Visiting Barcelona, touted as the most modern city in Spain, is an option for study abroad in the fall.

Students will enjoy weekly cultural activities; an overnight stay in Zaragoza, a city with impressive architecture; and a three-day trip to different Spanish highlights.

This trip is paired with a creative writing class, which involves writing a travel journal, or an English literature class.

The application deadline is June 24, 2019.

Studying abroad is a mix of work and pleasure, and Schraml said it’s important to strike a balance.

“There is always free time, but it’s definitely a commitment,” Schraml said.

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Furthering education in another nation

By Max Singer

Melbourne original
Associate Director of International Programs Ulrich Schraml (middle back row) often accompanies Whatcom students during their studies abroad. Photo courtesy of Ulrich Schraml.


This spring quarter, Whatcom Community College’s International Programs department will be taking a trip to Prague, Czech Republic for the first time. 

Whatcom’s Associate Director of International Programs Ulrich Schraml said he was happy to see “lots of first-time international travelers” in the group.

Schraml said these trips usually consist of 15-25 students and an accompanying adviser. This year, the group will be departing at the end of March and will return in early June, he said.

 In Prague, attendees will stay in apartment-style housing, Schraml said. “Lodging, local course selection and logistics” are handled by the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS), an organization that aids Whatcom and other colleges in arranging these types of trips, he said.

Students who go on the trip are required to take a minimum of 10 credits in the Czech Life and Culture courses, taught by guest lecturers from the surrounding area, Schraml said. These courses will focus on historical, political, economic and cultural aspects of Prague and the Czech Republic, he said, adding that a maximum of 15 credits can be taken which count for humanities or elective credits.

The current fee for students wishing to participate in the trip is $6,245. Schraml said this pays for housing, any necessary transportation, various activities, medical coverage and general program costs such as course fees.

Airfare, meals and personal expenses are not included. Once a student factors in the location, duration of the stay and unique travel experience, “it really is quite affordable,” Schraml said.

A full study abroad checklist including requirements and other important details can be found in Whatcom’s International Programs office, Schraml said.

A minimum GPA of 2.5 and two letters of recommendation along with an unofficial copy of a student’s transcript are required to participate, as well as a one-page letter explaining why the student wants to attend the trip. All interested applicants can speak to Schraml for more information concerning the program.

Prior Whatcom student and the current Registration Program Assistant for Whatcom Chris Evans said he went on an exchange with Whatcom to Australia and New Zealand three years ago.

“In each country, we studied biology, history and culture,” and activities consisted of a “mix of meetings, classroom and actual experience,” Evans said.

Whatcom works with the Washington State Community College Consortium for Study Abroad (WCCCSA) said Schraml, which connects community colleges with other schools around the world. This means that Whatcom students will still be enrolled in the United States but can earn credits in the other country with freedom to travel, he added.

Classes usually take place Monday through Thursday, leaving Friday and the weekend to explore the area and visit local attractions, Schraml said.

 The next trip the International Programs department has planned is to Costa Rica, where students will have the opportunity to live with host families and earn elective credits, said Schraml.

One of the major hurdles most students have to overcome is financial aid, but students can apply for scholarships to pay for a portion of their exchange, Schraml said.

To assist students with their educational finances, Whatcom will be holding a scholarship workshop on February 3 regarding entry requirements and process steps, Schraml said.

Organization and time management are essential for successfully participating in these trips, and most arrangements are taken care of in advance, said Schraml.

“You don’t need to worry much about scheduling” once actually on the trip, Evans said. “Any time would be beneficial” to go on this type of trip, and “you’ll learn a ton,” he added.

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Lowdown on the Down Under

by Emily Huntington

Horizon Reporter

Italy. South Africa. New Zealand. Europe. Australia.

These are just a few of the places that students are able to travel through the study abroad program at Whatcom Community College. The Australia/New Zealand option was administered in 2001 by Green River Community College, and Whatcom has been involved in it for many years, according to Ulli Schraml, study abroad coordinator at Whatcom.

Overall the program costs $6,895, and includes round trip airfare to Australia via New Zealand. While overseas, students earn 15 credits in history, biology, and interdisciplinary studies. The classes are taught by Bruce Haulman, who works at Green River Community College, as well as Australia/New Zealand faculty.

A few students have recently returned from their 10-week stay in Australia and New Zealand (five weeks were spent in each country).

Bree Gorsenger, 18, a Running Start student at Whatcom Community College, returned to Bellingham about a month ago. In all, the trip cost her $17,000 when tuition, food, room and board, and general entertainment were taken into account. The price varies for every student, depending on how much money they want to save for general spending.

Gorsenger chose Australia and New Zealand for many reasons. “I really like change,” she said, and explained that she liked that it was far away from home, and of course that it was sunny and full of laid back, outgoing people.

While away, Gorsenger missed her dog and her bed the most. Surprisingly, she said, “I didn’t miss my cell phone.” International rates are almost not worth the trouble of texting or calling, especially with Skype and social networking sites that are free.

She misses the weather and the way that daily life was way more exciting in New Zealand and the overall culture. In Australia, people were so open minded. “You could talk about absolutely everything,” she said.

Some surprises for Gorsenger were the prices of things, and the overall exchange rates. In Australia, for example, a bottle of water is $4.

Gorsenger explained that before they leave they are advised to watch what they spend, since in a lot of countries the drinking ages are less than 21. In New Zealand and Australia, the drinking age is 18, “which was helpful,” she said.

In Australia, the natives hate kangaroos, and actually hunt them and hit them with their cars, then eat them. Gorsenger said it tastes almost like a regular hamburger, but since kangaroos don’t have a lot of fat on them, they’re way healthier. Whatcom student Alan Carroll, 21, who also went to Australia/New Zealand, compares kangaroo meat to venison.

Carroll also returned from his trip about a month ago, though he explains that it feels like just yesterday he was there. “It’s like a dream now,” he said. Carroll said he chose to go there for the different experience. He is studying anthropology, and said that his knowledge “helped me see different ways cultures interacted with each other.”

In New Zealand, there is a tribe of people called the Maori that make up about another half of the government there. They have several languages, and “most everyone has tattoos. The women have tattoos on their chins,” explained Gorsenger.

While there, it wasn’t all about studying. Gorsenger had the opportunity to go swimming with the sharks, and got to meet some rugby players. In New Zealand they are really big into rugby. Gorsenger also went bungee jumping twice.

Carroll missed the food here, and not having to worry about it. In Australia, besides hating and eating kangaroos, they are also big on eating lamb. Carroll explained that they would cook it like we cook t-bone steaks here and enjoy it. In Melbourne, where they stayed, it is against the law to pick up a koala bear, but in other parts of Australia it’s okay.

Carroll was surprised at how expensive everything was there. In Australia, the minimum wage is about $15/hour, so despite being warned about careful spending, they couldn’t really budget correctly because of the price increase.

Overall, Carroll prefers New Zealand to Australia, and he is already looking for a way to get back. The climate of New Zealand is similar to good summer days in Washington. It’s about 80 degrees, and the summer nights aren’t too hot or too cold, and you can actually sleep, he explained.

He encourages people to go, no matter what, at the first chance they get. “It’s so much better to learn by seeing and experiencing than hearing about it,” he said.

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