Education, authenticity and affordability are the main focus of Oklahoma Study Abroad courses, said Christian Alyea, trip director.
Sporting a bright orange tie and an enthusiastic attitude, Alyea gave a presentation over study abroad programs offered through OCCC to a journalism class Oct. 24.
His passion for the educational value of travel was apparent with every word that he spoke. Alyea said he gained this passion for international travel when he decided to finish high school in Slovakia.
“I built a connection with that country,” he said.
Only one percent of students in higher education across the nation take advantage of study abroad programs, Alyea said, and he hopes to change that. OCCC students are being offered a study abroad trip to Andalucía, Spain, through Oklahoma Study Abroad in 2014.
The trip to Spain will begin May 17 and will run through June 1. Trips to museums, cathedrals and beaches in the south of the country are a few of the excursions happening on this trip.
Tentative schedule for the Spain trip is available on the Oklahoma Study Abroad website.
The program will provide students with a meaningful study abroad experience, Alyea said.
“The program has to be authentic in my opinion or it’s not worth doing it,” Alyea said. “I don’t want to take students over and put them in a tour bus the entire time, and have them seeing everything from the tour bus windows. You can do that in a book.”
On this trip, students will live as close to the local lifestyle as possible.
Alyea stressed that students will eat at local food places, take local transportation, and stay in youth hostels or in some cases, with host families to ensure this authenticity.
Another thing Alyea said about the study abroad program is the affordability of the trips. The projected cost for the two-week trip is around $2,800, including airfare, transportation, lodging and some meals.
Currently, Oklahoma Study Abroad offers the most affordable programs on the market, Alyea said.
“What we are trying to do is put programs in reach of more students so more students can have that opportunity to study abroad,” he said. “It is a life-changing experience.”
The program allows students to gain college credit while being submerged in another culture. The trips are open to anyone, but everyone must register and pay the course tuition, either for credit or audit.
For more information, go to the Oklahoma Study Abroad website or contact Alyea at 405-549-3329 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.