On Wednesday, March 6, San Mateo County community members gathered at Skyline College, joining the SMCCCD Japan Community Travel Program, the program leader Chikako Walker, the Acting Director of International Education of SMCCCD, and the Study Abroad Office staff including, Alice Yang, Acting Director of Special International Programs, Kelly Li, Program Services Coordinator, and Zaid Ghori of interim Dean, Global Learning Programs and Services for the program pre-departure orientation for their upcoming trip to Japan. This event allowed the future travelers to get to know each other and prepare for their 11-day trip in April 2024. Participants enjoyed a delicious Japanese-themed dinner while discussing their itinerary and accommodations. The program provider, The Learning Adventure (TLA) representative, Sam Axon from the UK, joined the event via Zoom to meet the participants and answer questions regarding the trip to Japan.

The SMCCCD Community Travel Program is a curated group travel experience for adults and life-long learners. Participants travel with an SMCCCD program leader and a local tour guide as they enjoy local delicacies, special attractions, guided sightseeing, and in this case, an 11-day tour of Japan next April including visits to the great cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, and their numerous cultural locations, such as the world-famous Asakusa, Tokyo Sky Tree, and Akihabara. Participants will also have the chance to experience some of the country’s unique traditional landmarks, such as the Kiyomizu Dera Temple and the UNESCO World Heritage Itsukushima Shrine.

The Community Travel Program was created as a way for Skyline College to connect with the larger community of San Mateo County and help our students live and learn in other countries. For many college students, studying abroad is a special goal of their undergraduate years; however, the experience is often financially out of reach. With the Community Travel Program, $500 (tax-deductible) of each participant’s program fee goes directly into the SMCCCD Foundation for Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, helping make transformative global opportunities more accessible for our students.

The Community Travel Program is part of the SMCCCD Study Abroad Program—a 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-led abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters, and student scholarship opportunities, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kelly Li or Dr. Alice Yang at studyabroad@smccd.edu or call 650-738-7098. You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Kelly Li and Aidan Takeuchi

Photo by Snow Guo

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