An estimated group of 20 to 40 Cerritos College students interested in English or art history transferable units may have a chance to study abroad in Florence, Italy during the summer of 2019.
Students who need Art History 102, English 102 or English 110 to transfer to Cal States or UC’s will be kept on track while studying abroad.
Dr. Lisa Boutin-Vitela, professor of art history, and Dr. Stephen Clifford, professor of English, expressed their enthusiasm for student opportunities abroad.
“For me, it’s always about teaching the literature within the culture. It’s one thing to read literature and analyze it and write about it here in the states, and that’s great, you get a lot of great depth from it,” Clifford said.
“It becomes a whole different kind of immersive project to study literature, develop those critical thinking skills, and to do it in the culture, in the country where it happened,” he elaborated.
The program that Vitela and Clifford are working through, The American Institute for Foreign Study, offers classrooms in the heart of Florence.
Vitela believes in the importance of experiencing other cultures and having the chance of staying four weeks, which is what the program is designed to do.
“I think the students [would] really get a feel for living in a new place and one of my goals is that the students will then feel more confident to do a full study abroad when they transfer to their next institution,” said Vitela.
As far as concerns over finances for the trip, Vitela and Clifford emphasize the importance of starting the process Fall 2018, to make sure students are situated with funds, passports and other travel needs.
The program would be “carefully constructed,” with plans years in advance, so students can plan ahead.
Clifford suggested applying for scholarships, grant funding and other varieties of funding opportunities.
He said there are often equity issues where community college students do not have many chances of studying abroad.
Early in their education, “These opportunities cause students to be more successful in their regular, on-campus work, but also in the community as well,” Clifford finished.
Information sessions will take place in September and October 2018, to get more students thinking about their plans and not decide too late.
The sessions are open to all students and staff, but the program requires the completion of English 100, 12 units and a 2.5 cumulative GPA before the start of the first summer 2019 session.
Vitela and Clifford say the program is set to happen unless not enough students apply.
They are hoping they have the opposite problem with an overflow of students interested.
“That’s the goal. We are excited about starting it up,” said Clifford.