Study Abroad next year with PAC program

By Elizabeth Mayer
Pulse Staff Reporter

Students who attend or plan to enroll into Palo Alto College can enter into many programs offered to them, one of them being the study abroad program.

The current countries offered are China, England, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

The priority deadline was Dec. 7, 2018, and the final application deadline was Feb. 15, 2019. A $200 non-refundable application fee was due upon application.

This program allows students to take a course that is listed with the country of their choosing. Requirements include a 2.0 GPA, 12 cumulative academic credits and a valid passport.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, why would a student want to go out of the country just to study? When a student travels out of his or her own country to a new one, they are exposed to a new language and culture.

“When a student comes for an advising session and tells me that they’re interested in the program, I tell them to go for it. It’s an exciting and eye-opening experience, especially for young adults still attending college or university,” said Amanda Morales, advisor for the Service Education Empowerment Diversity (SEED) Advising Center.

The program currently only offers countries from the continents of Europe and Asia, although many students think there should be a wider variety of countries.

The most commonly asked question, other than what options students have, is how much it would cost. The program is paid for by the student via their tuition payment. The Gilman Scholarship, which awards students up to $5,000, is a possibility. Financial aid may also cover a portion of the cost.

Prices range from $4,500 to $5,800, and that price does not include tuition, passport fees, visas, books, materials or spending money.

“The prices for the program may be a bit too steep for someone, but I do extremely recommend the program for whoever is thinking about it. It teaches you how other countries have different cultures and way of living, not to mention that it’s somewhat of a vacation since there are tours of local monuments and tourists’ spots,” said Angelina Castro, a San Antonio resident and PAC alumna who traveled to Japan with the program in 2014.

Each student chooses what country they would like to attend, but at PAC, the most popular country is Italy.

“The Italian accent and language are possibly the most seductive, well besides the French and British accents. The foods and desserts in Italy are better than the not-so-authentic Italian cuisine they have in America. The snacks that can be bought in Italy are like none you can find in America,” said Jennifer Ortiz, an alumna of PAC.

Students who study abroad often have a change of heart when it comes to their career path. This happens because during their trip they think about how much they’re learning and how much of an eye-opener the trip was for them.

“While studying at PAC, my career path was in Criminal Justice, but after traveling to Spain, I found that their literature was so interesting and passionate. When I returned to the States, I changed my major to Spanish, and now I’m a bilingual educator. I know Spanish is spoken by most residents in San Antonio, but not all. I thought, ‘What if I taught the youth at an early age? Then perhaps it will stick and maybe they’ll be passionate about it as I was,’” said Alex Cortes, alumnus of PAC.

Although the deadlines for applications have passed for this academic year, there is always a chance for next year.