Tag Archives: study abroad

Deadlines approaching for Study Abroad

As the fall quarter begins, a new wave of studying abroad opportunities are open to Whatcom Community College.

For the 2020 school year, Whatcom students can experience locations such as Australia and New Zealand in the Winter, Berlin in the Spring, and Tokyo in the Fall.

“One of the most important things you want to do if you want to do study abroad is to start early to investigate what’s involved, what the program is and how much it costs,” said Ulrich Schraml, the Associate Director of International Programs.

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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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