Whatcom, the world is calling

By Shelby Ford

Many dream of traveling the world, and many never get the chance. To walk the streets of Florence, take a cooking class in Barcelona, or spectate a sumo wrestling match in Tokyo. Traveling abroad is an incomparable experience that students rarely take advantage of.

“I want everyone to have a chance to study abroad,” said Ulli Schraml, Associate Director for International Programs.

Whatcom Community College offers students the chance to see the world, and earn credits, through the Washington State Community College Consortium for Study Abroad. Whatcom students have been to places such as England, Costa Rica, Germany and New Zealand.

Schraml has been at Whatcom for 20 years and has helped many first-time travelers through the process.

“The most important thing about studying abroad is to be flexible,” said Schraml.

Students, especially those leaving the country for the first time, should expect language barriers and different customs. Schraml suggests that the best thing you can do while abroad is communicate.

“There will be people there on location that you can talk to for support, whether it’s what museums to go to, or what are the best restaurants,” said Schraml.

Students will be allowed time off from their classes. Students will go on excursions, with hands on learning experiences, such as guided tours, museum visits, and cultural events like rugby matches in London or sumo wrestling in Tokyo.

“You won’t be in the classroom as much was you are here,” said Schraml

If you are planning on studying abroad, Schraml suggests to plan as early as possible.

“Students are already starting to think about next year’s Germany trip,” said Schraml.

Whatcom’s website lists the classes that student’s will be taking while their abroad, so students can plan their trip around their major. Student’s will earn 15 credits during their stay, and stay during the school quarter.

“I suggest that community college students study abroad now. It will be a lot more expensive once they get to a university,” said Schraml.

Study Abroad can be expensive even with scholarships and financial aid assistance. Schraml wants to include shorter trips abroad to Whatcom’s programming, like the trip to Scotland this summer. It will be more accessible to students on a budget.

“We are currently putting in proposals for more faculty led trips,” said Schraml.

Whatcom English faculty member, Rhonda Daniels, who teaches Scottish Literature, will be heading a trip to Scotland this summer.

“This the first time in a long time that a Whatcom teacher has led their own program abroad,” said Schraml.

Daniel’s Scottish heritage is what first interested her to visit.

“No matter where you look, you can find Scottish blood.”

Daniel’s visited Scotland a year ago to map out the trip and to make sure her lessons, activities, and plans worked. This was her second time visiting the country, first time planning a trip for students.

“An hour trip across the Highlands can quickly turn into two if there happens to be a tractor in the road,” said Daniels.

Students will have the chance to travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and Isle of Skye.

Just some of the excursions planned are a visit to the birthplace of the author of Peter Pan, Jim Barry.

Àdhamh Ó Broin, the Gaelic voice instructor for the television show, Outlander, will also be visiting for a day.

Summers in Scotland are only slightly colder than in the Pacific Northwest.

“July averages about 15 days of rain, but we’re used to the rain; it’s not going to stop us” said Daniels.

Whatcom’s international program is planning more trips to locations such as Costa Rica, Morocco, India and France. Those interested in studying abroad can visit the International Programs Office, located in Syre Student Center, or visit International Programs on the Whatcom website.


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