Students take advantage of world experience

By Hailey Angulo, Pulse staff writer

During the school year of 2011-2012, approximately 274,000 U.S. students made the decision to study abroad. According to the Institute of International Education, the number of students who study abroad has nearly doubled since 1993 and continues to increase.

Next summer, Alamo Colleges will once again host a study abroad to Salamanca, Spain. Salamanca is known as a university town where students from all over the world participate in study abroad programs. The experience will give students up to seven credits in Spanish, Art Appreciation, Economic Geography or Introduction to Speech. Students will spend a month in Spain, June 2 through July 3, and stay with a host family. Classes are Monday through Friday. On the weekends, you will be given the opportunity to explore parts of Spain.

“It’s hard to say what I enjoyed the most, just because being in Spain was amazing! Being able to visit different cities in Spain and learning about the culture, architecture and history behind them was such a reward,” said Kimberly Chavez, sophomore Culinary major at Palo Alto, who experienced Salamanca this past summer.

“After five weeks of [being] surrounded by a diverse group of individuals, getting the chance to bond with them and experience this trip together was one of my favorite parts,” said Chavez.

According to a study done by Western Carolina University, many students choose not to participate in going abroad for two reasons: money and time. With that being said, over $1.5 million in scholarships are available and financial aid can be used to help pay for your experience. Though programs in the fall and spring are one semester long, summer programs are on average three to eight weeks long.

Besides Salamanca, Spain, Alamo Colleges will be hosting three other programs this summer: Japan from May 19 to June 18; Cuba from May 31 to June 9; and Brazil from May 18 to June 1.

Gabby Estrada, a sophomore at St. Philip’s College, will study abroad this summer in Florianopolis, Brazil. Estrada is enrolled in the culinary program at St. Philip’s, and her main reason for deciding to go was to learn about food culture in another country.

“Two weeks in Brazil for an experience of a lifetime…I’m mostly looking forward to experiencing a foreign culture, learning other styles of cooking other than American, and trying new food that we can’t grow here in the U.S.,” said Estrada.

For more information about study abroad opportunities, contact Palo Alto College’s Study Abroad Office at (210) 485-0084 or For help with completing study abroad applications, contact Palo Alto College’s International Study Abroad Club Adviser Evangeline Velez-Cobb at (210) 486-6341.