On Saturday, January 14, 2023, over 20 San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) students attended the pre-departure orientation for the Spring 2023 Florence Program at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. Although it was a windy and stormy day, they were excited to meet students from other community college districts who will attend the same program in Italy and eager to learn more about the logistics of the program to get prepared for their global learning and adventure. The orientation covered the detailed logistics of the program, including packing, flight, travel, living in Florence, housing, health and safety, student services, and cultural activites, etc.

The semester study abroad program is offered by the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) in partnership with Northern California Study Abroad Consortium (NCSAC), which is composed of Contra Costa Community College District, Los Rios Community College District, Santa Rosa Junior College, and SMCCCD. Our district joined the consortium in 1986.

SMCCCD, one of the two largest sending institutions, will send 26 students to Florence for the Spring 2023 semester as part of a cohort of 98 students from the consortium. Faculty and students depart for Florence on February 4, 2023 and return on May 5, 2023.

Courses offered for this program are in the disciplines of art, business, economics, kinesiology, and sociology. Units earned in Florence will appear on students’ transcripts issued by the participating colleges. The SMCCCD Faculty Leader, Cañada College Economics professor, Paul Roscelli will teach four courses in Florence: Principles of Macro Economics, Principles of Microeconomics, Business Law, and Italian Life and Culture, which consists of weekly lectures focusing on historical, political, economic and cultural aspects of Italy and Florence, and some field trips.

Congratulations to Diana Castro and Kimberly Zarco from Cañada College, who received the prestigious U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the Florence Spring 2023 Program. We also want to congratulate Gianela Gutierrez from College of San Mateo, Sienna Martinez from Cañada College, and Diana Castro who were selected for the AIFS Ambassador Scholarship. They will share their study abroad experiences via AIFS social media and on campus after return from Italy. SMCCCD Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College.  For more information about studying or interning abroad, faculty teach abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please contact Alice Yang at yanga@smccd.edu. You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Alice Yang | Photo by Kerry Loewen

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