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Study Abroad Program

General Information

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

For details about Global Citizenship and the Study Abroad Program,

see the WVC Global Citizenship blog.

The Study Abroad Program is a key part of teaching students to be engaged global citizens, to be adept at cultural competency, and to be better prepared for the professional and personal challenges of the 21st century. These aims are consistent with West Valley College’s mission statement: “WVC supports students along their pathways to reach transfer and career goals in an environment of academic excellence.” These aims also help to achieve at least three of the college’s 2020 Educational Master Plan Goals: to “create a vibrant and engaging campus community,” to “commit to developing and supporting values, practices and a campus community environment that supports equity and diversity,” and to brand the college as “a distinctive institution.”

The WVC SAP focuses efforts in four areas: 

  • Creating short-term study-tours with a variety of embedded courses,
  • Providing scholarships to students who want to participate in short-term faculty-led trips that allow them to earn units in various embedded courses,
  • Providing scholarships to students who want to attend the Global Citizenship Seminar in Salzburg, Austria,
  • Providing funds to WVC faculty members who want to participate in professional development seminars abroad.

West Valley College Announces Study Abroad Program

We are pleased to announce that for the first time in the history of West Valley College, and building on the many efforts of individual faculty members, as well as on the persistent work of the Global Citizenship Committee, the Office of the WVC President and the WVM Community College District Land Corporation have dedicated funds to create a comprehensive, cohesive, and multi-facetted Study Abroad Program that will enrich our students, faculty, and entire college community.

During this spring semester 2017, the Study Abroad Program will work to establish an infrastructure, criteria and procedures for awarding scholarships to students and faculty members, to send students and faculty members to seminars abroad, and to create a short-term trip abroad, a service-learning trip, and an opportunity for students who cannot travel outside the United States. For example, by this coming Monday, scholarship applications will be available to students to attend the Global Citizenship Alliance seminar this June. Scholarships will also be available for students to travel to France (and to complete up to two WVC courses) in January. There will be a scholarship for a WVC student transferring to the Anglo American University in Prague. Going forward, the Study Abroad Program will also include opportunities for faculty development in leading trips.

For more information, please contact Dr. Dulce María GrayDr. Gray.

Trips

"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey." John Hope Franklin, American historian

Check this website often. Various study tours and service learning trips abroad and in the United States are being planned for spring break and the rest of 2018. Multiple scholarships for WVC students and support for WVC faculty members will be available. 

January 2018 – Paris and the Loire Valley, France

West Valley College Study Abroad Program has organized a nine-day educational study tour to France during January 2018. Students may earn up to 6 units. Students may register for two out of these three courses:

The classes meet at WVC on January 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 25. Tentatively, departure from San Francisco to Paris is on January 10, and the return is on January 18.

There are a limited number of full scholarships available for WVC students. The application is here. Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Wednesday 11 May 2017. (Registration fees for the courses are not included in the scholarship, but students may use their financial aid.)

Students without a scholarship may join the trip and pay the $3,200+ expenses.

All students must sign up at the EF College Study Tours webpage for this triphttp://www.efcollegestudytours.com/professors-trip/1970085VR

July 2017 – Paris, France

Four faculty members will attend an International Faculty Development Seminars, Best Practices for Creating Successful Faculty-Led Programs,” offered at the Council on International Educational Exchange ( CIEE )’s Global Institute in Paris, France. 

July 2017 - London, England 

One faculty member will attend CIEE’s International Faculty Development Seminars, “Grow Abroad: Enhancing Study Away Through Online Learning,” in London, England.

July 2017 – Honduras

Two students in the WVC Healthcare Technologies Program and Clinical Assisting and Medical Assisting certificate programs will volunteer with Global Medical Brigade's humanitarian mission to Honduras where they will help to provide medical services to impoverished communities.

June 2017 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Two faculty members will attend the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE )’s International Faculty Development Seminars,  “ Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights in Contemporary Argentina,” at CIEE’s host institution, FLACSO, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

June 2017 – Salzburg, Austria

Students will attend the week-long Global Citizenship Seminar GCS 11 convened at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria from June 12 to June 19, 2017. GCS 11 is organized by the Global Citizenship Alliance. It focuses on providing an intensive seven-day experience that allows students to develop better understanding of the processes and effects of globalization. Students gain understanding about what it means to be a Global Citizen and how to apply the core values of global citizenship in academic, professional, and personal actions.

This seminar helps students to consciously prepare to live and work in the complex interdependent society of the 21st century and to contribute to improving the common global welfare or our planet and its inhabitants. Activities include a trip to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in neighboring Germany. The scholarship application is here.

Dr. Tim Kelly, Professor of history and Political Science, will travel with the students as Faculty Advisor. Dr. Kelly may be reached here.

Students who wish to pay their own fees please contact the Director of Study Abroad, Dr. Dulce María Gray.

May 2017 – Japan

One faculty member will participate in EF College Study Tours' eleven-day long faculty training trip, "Business and Culture in Japan," that will explore Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka.

Applications

Students: Each trip and student scholarship requires specific applications. The application is included in the information packet for each trip. 

Faculty Members: Proposal forms for faculty members who want to lead study trips are filed under Faculty/Staff (found in the left navigation).

Scholarships

WVC's Study Abroad Program offers various full and partial scholarships to students who wish to participate in scheduled short-term trips abroad and in the United States. Amounts differ depending on the trip. Students are advised to check this webpage and the WVC Scholarships webpage. Below is a list of the most current scholarships.

France Scholarship Application

There are a limited number of full scholarships available for WVC students to participate in a nine-day educational study tour to France during January 2018. Students may earn up to 6 units by completing two out of these three courses:

The classes meet at WVC on January 3, 4, 8, 9, and 23. Tentatively, departure from San Francisco to Paris is on January 10, and the return is on January 19.

Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Wednesday 11 May 2017. (Registration fees for the courses are not included in the scholarship, but students may use their financial aid.) 

Salzburg, Austria Scholarship Application

WVC’s Study Abroad Program invites you to apply for a full scholarship to attend the week-long Global Citizenship Seminar GCS 11 convened at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria from June 12 to June 19, 2017.

GCS 11 is organized by the Global Citizenship Alliance. It focuses on providing an intensive seven-day experience that allows students to develop better understanding of the processes and effects of globalization. Students gain understanding about what it means to be a Global Citizen and how to apply the core values of global citizenship in academic, professional, and personal actions. This seminar helps students to consciously prepare to live and work in the complex interdependent society of the 21st century and to contribute to improving the common global welfare or our planet and its inhabitants. Activities include a trip to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in neighboring Germany.

The scholarship pays for the seminar fee, room, meals ($1,900), roundtrip airfare from San Francisco to Munich or Vienna (up to $1,400), and roundtrip train transportation to Salzburg ($200). The scholarship totals $3,500. The seminar fee is paid directly to Global Citizenship Alliance. You are responsible for buying your plane and train tickets. Up to $1,600 will be reimbursed to you once you submit receipts for transportation.

Remember to request one letter of recommendation from your previous or current WVC professor. Ask your professor at least 2 weeks in advance, and remind him/her that the letter must describe why he/she believes that you are a good candidate for this scholarship. Ask him/her to be specific regarding his/her knowledge of you. Your professor may include (but is not limited to) comments about your academic achievement, employment record, leadership, character traits and qualities, and community service.

Submit your completed application packet to behin.dokht@westvalley.edu by 5:00 PM on Monday March 27, 2017.  

Prague, Czech Republic Scholarship Application

If you plan to transfer to Anglo American University and you believe that you have a good chance of being accepted to begin studying there by September 1, 2017, the WVC Study Abroad Program invites you to apply for a $1,000 scholarship.

This scholarship is awarded on the basis of educational goals, academic performance, promise of achievement, community service, and in some instances, financial need. The WVC scholarship program is designed to recognize accomplishments and to provide tangible encouragement to students.

Remember to request one letter of recommendation from your previous or current WVC professor. Ask your professor 2 to 3 weeks in advance, and remind him/her that the letter must describe why he/she believes that you are a good candidate for this scholarship. Ask him/her to be specific regarding his/her knowledge of you. Your professor may include (but is not limited to) comments about your academic achievement, employment record, leadership, character traits and qualities, and community service.

Submit your completed application packet to behin.dokht@westvalley.edu by 5:00 PM on Monday April 17, 2017.

Resources

For Faculty

CIEE International Faculty Development Seminars take place around the world and include training in how to lead effective study abroad student trips.

Cross-Cultural Solutions offers organized volunteer trips around the world.

The East-West Center at the University of Hawai'i offers a variety of content-focused faculty and institutional development programs and activities centered around summer residential institutes, field seminars, workshops, and conferences.

Education First College Study Tours works with faculty members to organize and lead study abroad programs.

Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad provide faculty development institutes and short term seminars in the fields of social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Global Citizenship Alliance offers intensive week-long seminars on global citizenship for faculty members, administrators, and students.

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) works with faculty members to design and organize study trips to various places in the world. 

NEH Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators offers opportunities for faculty members to participate in institutes and short term seminars.

Stanford University Global Studies's Education for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) strengthens the internationalization of curricula and the professionalization of language instruction at community colleges and K-12 institutions. EPIC offers various workshops, courses, a fellowship program, and other programs including the Integrating Global Issues in to Commiunity College Curricula Symposium.

Yale University's MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies offers film series, seminars, conferences, and symposia to help support faculty members' teaching and research on all aspects of international affairs, societies, and cultures around the world. 

For Students

BUNAC Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad 

CCIE Californai Colleges for International Education

CIA: The World Factbook

Fodor's Language for Travelers

Lonely Planet

Rick Steves' Europe

STA Travel volunteering Projects

STA's Tips for First Time Travelers

Staying Connected while Abroad: International Cell Phones

STE Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: A Service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, US Department of State

Students Abroad: United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs

Time Zone Converter

World Time Zone Map

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions that are not included in the list below, please email the Director of Study Abroad Program: study.abroad@westvalley.edu.

Q: What is study abroad?

Study abroad can mean several things: long-term study abroad entails spending the entire semester, or a year, taking classes at a university outside of the United States. Short-term study abroad entails going on a trip that lasts from one to two or more weeks. WVC offers short-term study abroad trips mostly during summer and winter semesters, when it is easier for students to participate. Students may register for classes that include a study abroad trip, or they may join the trip without completing for credit courses. WVC's Study Abroad Program also offers trips within the United States and service learning opportunities locally and abroad.

Can I earn credit for studying abroad? And, will the courses fulfill my graduation requirements?

A: Yes, at WVC most study abroad trips are linked to specific for-credit transferable courses. You may register for those coures, and the credits go directly to your transcript. Or you may participate in the trip without registering for a class. Check the description of the specific trip that interests you. Yes, most trips are linked to general education courses that fulfill graduation requirements, but check the specific trips for details.

Why should I participate in study abroad?

A: The top ten 21st century skills are adaptability, analysis/having a solution mindsent, collaboration, communication, digital fluency, having an entrepreneurial mindset, empathy, resilience, self-awareness, social and diversity awareness. Exploring other cultures and languages helps you to hone all of those skills. Studying outside of your familiar environment helps you to mature, to expand cognitively, to broaden your intellectual curiosity, and to understand the significance of being a global citizen. Studying abroad helps you to gain cultural competency, international experience, language capabilities, and other skills needed in our increasingly globalized societies.

Are there language requirements?

No, at this time there are no language requirements for participating in any of WVC's study abroad programs.

Can I use my financial aid to pay for study abroad fees?

If you have financial aid you may use it, as you usually do, to pay for registration in the classes linked to the study abroad trip.

Does WVC offer scholarships to students who want to participate in WVC's Study Abroad Program trips?

Yes, for details about available scholarships, click on Scholarships in the SAP webpage and on the WVC Scholarships webpage.

Do I have to qualify for financial aid to be eligible for a scholarship to study abroad?

No, not necessarily. Some scholarships are need-based and some are merit-based. Check the details of each listed scholarship. Note that if you register for a class being offered as Study Abroad, you may use your financial aid to pay for the class registration and fees.

What are the qualifications required to be eligible for a scholarship to study abroad?

Qualifications vary depending on the scholarship, but generally, these are the requirements: be a student in good standing at WVC, have the required GPA, have clearly articulated goals for wanting to study abroad, have completed a certain minimun and maximum number of credits, have a letter of recommendation from your professor at WVC, complete the specific requirements of the particular trip, have all documents necessary to travel to the particular country.

How much money is available?

The amounts vary. Check the particular scholarship for the particular trip. Most are full scholarships, but some are partial scholarships.

What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?

That depends on the number of applications received and the number of scholarships available.

How will I receive the scholarship monies/award?

In most cases, either all or part of the scholarship is paid directly to the specific study abroad program. In some cases (for example, if you have to buy airfare), you will be reimbursed once you provide all required invoices and receipts.

Do I have to buy additional medical or travel insurance to study abroad?

Each trip is different. The logistics of some trips are organized by companies, and in such cases the companies include medical and travel insurance. If the logistics of a trip are not organized by a company, you will be asked to buy travel/medical insurance. Check the specifics of the trip that interests you.

How do I apply for study abroad?

Each trip has a specific application. Therefore, check the details of each trip.

I am a student with DACA status, can I study abroad?

WVC strongly supports students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and their access to higher education, including the experience of studying abroad. But, since the January 20, 2017 start of the new presidency and administration, there have been changes to US governmental policy that are likely to impact DACA students. DACA students traveling outside the US may not be allowed to re-enter the US. Therefore, we advice  that DACA students discuss the risks associated with re-entry with their legal counsel.

Should I be concerned about my identity while studying abroad?

WVC is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion. Race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, and ability are some of the different aspects of identity. You may feel strongly about one or more of those aspects. But while traveling abroad, depending on the location and situation, there may be different cultural norms and standards. Consequently, it may happen that you feel that an aspect of your identity is not perceived the way that you expect. The key to succeeding in a travel abroad program is to be fully knowledgable about yourself and the country where you will study. That way, you can anticipate how your identity may be perceived and how, therefore, you will want to best represent yourself.

last published: 9/16/17