Students gain new perspectives, knowledge through study abroad program

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Photo courtesy of Buck Troupe

Connor Heaton

Reporting correspondent 

cheaton@jccc.edu

Study abroad is an educational program that offers students the opportunity to study, live and explore one of more than 30 countries including China, Spain and Germany.

Ivee Baugh, International Education coordinator, went to Mozambique and Thailand each for a year. She explains study abroad as the opportunity to take a wide variety of courses in different countries.

“You can take history, science or foreign language, pretty much anything you’re interested in,” Baugh said. “When I lived in Thailand, I just took regular university courses like religion and English.”

Baugh said after studying abroad four times, she believes every location has something special to offer.

Of all the places, Baugh says Germany is definitely one of the most popular, as students can either go to Berlin or Heidelberg. There, students study German intensively for a semester but can venture out sometimes and explore.

Former study abroad student Buck Troupe spent a semester in Germany.

“I chose to study abroad because I wanted to experience Germany and determine if I could see myself going to grad school there,” Troupe said.

One may assume going abroad to places like Germany or China require advanced knowledge in the language, but Troupe says that isn’t necessarily true.

“I had already studied German at JCCC, although because we were learning it here at the school as well,” Troupe said. “You could probably start at a complete beginner’s level if you wanted to.”

Students like Troupe say they sometimes struggle financially to support their trip. For example, a summer semester costs at least $8,000. Luckily for them, Baugh says there are many financial aid opportunities through programs and scholarships.

One of these is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program, which is a government-funded scholarship for motivated students that allows them to fully immerse themselves in German culture by living with a host family.

“Over 75 Americans go to Germany and 75 Germans come here,” Baugh said. “It’s an exchange and this is to any student in the US.”

In addition, Baugh says there are many other financial aid options available to students.

“It’s quite likely that our students will get a scholarship for studying abroad,” Baugh said. “There’s the Gilman scholarship which is offered by the government and this is if you’re a recipient of the Pell Grant. Though it is competitive, we have a really high percentage of students getting it.”

Though he did not receive the grant,Troupe said he was able to pay for most of his trip though one of these scholarships and he said it helped him immensely.

Besides intensively studying, study abroad students get the chance to explore their new home.

“Outside of class, I explored the city of Heidelberg and the surrounding hiking trails a lot,” Troupe said. “I took busses or trains to visit other German cities sometimes on the weekend.”

Troupe said his favorite part of the trip was getting experience living in another country for a semester, though he said he disliked how early German stores close.

After the trip, Baugh implied many don’t even want to return, though that’s subjective.

“I may not go back to Heidelberg because it’s a bit too pricey for my taste, but definitely go back and stay in Berlin or Leipzig,” Troupe said of his likeness to come back.

For more information about the Study Abroad program, contact Ivee Baugh at ibaugh@jccc.edu and (913) 469 8500 x3323. You can also check out their website.

More information on the CBYX Scholarship can be located here.

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