Students studying abroad transform selves

Photo of Sabra Booth, Jacquelyn Carroll, Cindie Kidwell, Linda Iglehart, Keisha Gonzales, Megan Meyers and Marcus Langham explore the streets of Italy.
Sabra Booth, Jacquelyn Carroll, Cindie Kidwell, Linda Iglehart, Keisha Gonzales, Megan Meyers and Marcus Langham explore Venice, Italy.

By Alexandro Luna
Pulse Staff Reporter

Students who study abroad experience the exciting cultures, customs, values, languages and people of different lands while earning academic credit.

The Alamo Colleges International Program’s goal is “to provide our participants with the opportunity to succeed in an international environment.”

Naphtali Bryant, a Palo Alto College graduate and a Study Abroad Student Ambassador, had his own experience with the program, one that led him to China last year. Studying Chinese, visiting landmarks almost every day and taking part in bountiful buffets, Bryant and his peers took advantage of every moment.

“Studying abroad was an amazing experience, and all those considering it should study abroad while at the Alamo Colleges,” said Bryant.

Bryant encourages applicants to take advantage of the free money made available through scholarships in order to pay for program expenses.

“It’s amazing what you can do at the Alamo Colleges! Unfortunately, most students never tap into what all the Alamo Colleges offer,” said Bryant, a recipient of many scholarships, including the Gilman Scholarship, which awards recipients of the Pell Grant up to $5,000. Paying with extra financial aid or with savings are two other ways to study abroad.

Last summer Mark Hogensen, professor of Art at Palo Alto, helped to lead a small group of students through the historical splendors of Italy. Basking in the sunrise atop their hotel, Hogensen and his students decided to make every day an opportunity to not only further their studies in art, but to expand their perspectives, as well.

A seasoned traveler himself, Hogensen said, “When you have goals in your life, travel is the best way to get there.”

Megan Myers, a sophomore English major attending San Antonio College, traveled to Italy with Hogensen’s group.

“Everyone should try to do this at least once in their lives. It is a great learning experience!” said Myers, who described Italy as “stunning, warm, and beautiful.”

The program has very few eligibility requirements. You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the Alamo Colleges, be at least 18 years old, have a minimum 2.0 GPA and have a valid passport by Jan. 29, 2016.

Once these requirements are satisfied, the student must complete an application by Dec. 4, 2015, submit a 200-300 word essay, pay a $200 non-refundable application fee and follow up on the subsequent program payments. After these requirements and a few orientation seminars are completed, the student can look forward to engaging in discussions, marveling at unique architecture, and embracing a new perspective outside of their norm.

Starting late spring 2016, the Alamo Colleges will send students to Spain, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, London, Turkey, Hungary, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

For more information on study abroad programs, contact Maria Rivera-Midence, the Alamo Colleges International Programs Coordinator, at (210) 485-0084 or at