Classes teach students through travel abroad

February 19, 2016 Latest, News Print Print
Share!

Trips available

Spring Break London
March 11 – 20
$2,700 Including Airfare
Professor Brent Noel
bnoel@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7246

Italy – Rome and Florence
May 16 – 26
$2,900 Including Airfare
Dr. Ginnett Rollins
grollins@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7704

Paris, France
May 16 – 25
$2,700 Including Airfare
Professor Sue Hinton
shinton@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7331

Costa Rica
Spanish Immersion
May 16 – 29
$1,900 Including Airfare
Professor Hilde Votaw
hilde.m.votaw@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7655

Ireland
May 16 – 29
$2,900 Including Airfare
Professor Julie Rice–Rollins
jrollins@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7382

Costa Rica and Panama
Biology Focus
July 30 – August 10
$1,900 Including Airfare
Professor Sheri Arthur
sherri.j.arthur@occc.edu
405.682.1611 x7168

OCCC is offering students six different international trips this year through study abroad trips.

Many of the students, faculty and staff involved view study abroad trips as an important element to helping them interpret the world with real experiences, said Arts Division Dean Ruth Charnay.

“We often talk about how, when you pick up a book, it allows you to travel in your mind to experience what is happening in other places, other times, other people, other cultures,” she said, “and obviously nothing gives you that experience like being able to actually physically travel and interact with other people, other places and cultures.”

Charnay said trips to foreign places brings students countless benefits. Not only do students improve their knowledge of the places they travel to, but they also benefit from meeting and learning to interact with different types of people, she said.

Charnay said the international trips will provide students a chance to combine things they’ve learned in books and in classrooms with live experiences.

“I think there are a lot of benefits that you get from stepping out of your normal world and your normal routine. There are also some things about joining groups of people that you never met before and experiencing just running for a train in a country where you don’t know how to speak their language and you’re all laughing together, sitting down at a table and eating dinner with folks,” she said.

Charnay said OCCC tries to keep these trips as affordable as possible, while still assuring a high quality trip.

“We try to keep in mind that our students are thrifty,” she said, “Therefore, we also try to look for trips that are an economically sound investment but they also have to be academically sound.”

She said students need only to have a good, real and safe experience, not a luxury hotel or a fancy tour.

“Even though we are a community college, we want to offer students experiences worldwide,” said modern language Professor Ginnett Rollins, who is leading students to Italy this year.

“[Study abroad trips] provide students firsthand experiences… for example, in Italy, the artworks that they have studied in the Art Appreciation or the Art History classes,” she said.

Rollins said students must enroll in the one credit World Language course to be able to take the trip.

“I try to keep it to just one credit in this case because often the students want the experience and they may need just one credit, but they have to take into account the trip’s cost.” she said.

Rollins said she hears mostly positive feedback from students who say they enjoy their trips.

“The negative comments make me laugh because they say ‘you are not the only one whose feet get hurt walking.’ We walked about eight miles a day.”

Charnay said anyone can sign up for the trip, but they must enroll in the class. Those who are not currently enrolled as students may participate as well. Students, OCCC staff and faculty and students’ friends or family members can register for the classes and go on the trips.

“I suggest, if you want to know details about what is going to be in the class, what the trip is going to be like,” she said, “you should contact whatever professor is associated with the trip.”

Oklahoma Study Abroad program director Christian Alyea said international students may participate also, depending on where their passport is from.

“Some Visas can be more complicated than others,” Alyea said.

“We’re here to help international students travel. Typically, they need to contact their embassy, explain where they want to go and for what purpose and then follow the necessary steps.”

Charnay said she’s taken numerous trips with students before.

“Last summer, we did an Eastern European trip… It was very interesting experiencing a lot of World War II history in Eastern European countries and how East and West are beginning to meet now,” she said.

“I‘m also a theater teacher, so I have taken students to London to see plays and talked about Shakespeare. I also had the opportunity to take students to Rome to talk about ancient theater history.”

There are usually around 15 to 30 students in a traveling group, she said.

“It is enough people to make you feel like you are meeting some new folks and having new experiences, but it is not so many people that you feel like you are sort of lost in a group.”

Charnay said none of the countries they are traveling to this summer are experiencing instability or have demonstrated any danger to travellers.

“OCCC’s Police Department and the Oklahoma City Study Abroad company have done an excellent job to keep all trips safe,” she said.

“When we say that we are going to take the trips, our risk management office and our police do some research to make sure there are no warnings,” she said.

“In the world climate, you never know when something might happen. But we feel very secure that the places we chose and the trips we are doing are going to be very safe and our students will be good.”

Alyea said safety is his first priority as well.

Students may be able to lower the trip fees by applying for The Sechrist Travel Scholarship at https://occc.academicworks.com/ and depending on the program, financial aid or grants may also be applicable to the cost.

For questions about travel paper work or payment methods and plans, contact christian@oklahomastudyabroad.com

Write a Reply or Comment