NCSAC pre-departure TheaterOn Saturday, January 11, 2020, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Study Abroad Program hosted over 150 people for the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium (NCSAC) Pre-Departure Orientation at Skyline College. The orientation was in preparation for students’ upcoming semester abroad in Florence, Italy.

SMCCCD will send 21 students to Florence for the Spring 2020 semester as part of a cohort of 91 students from the consortium. Faculty and students depart for Florence on February 1, 2020 and return on May 1, 2020. Other participating districts include Contra Costa Community College District, Los Rios Community College District and Santa Rosa Junior College. The program is offered in partnership with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). San Mateo County Community College District has participated in the consortium since 1986.

This semester, students in the program will have the opportunity to take courses in anthropology, English, sociology, political science, and history. Cañada College Anthropology professor, Jessica Marshall, will teach four courses in Florence: Cultural Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Ethnographic Film, and Italian Life and Culture. Over twenty years ago, Professor Marshall was a community college student in this same program, and she is thrilled to share this experience with her students. Students enrolled in her courses have expressed excitement to immerse themselves in the language, culture and history of Italy, allowing the museums and historical streets and buildings of Florence to be their living classroom.

We want to congratulate Bella Marinos from Skyline College, and Nanci Garcia-Montalvo and John Michael Mendoza from College of San Mateo, who received the prestigious U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship as well as the SMCCCD Foundation for Study Abroad scholarship. We also want to congratulate Emily Cochran from College of San Mateo, who received a scholarship from AIFS. As part of their scholarships, they will share their experience in Florence with fellow students when they return to campus next semester.

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 Zaid Ghori at or Stephanie Wells at You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Stephanie Wells | Photo by Zaid Ghori

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