Skip to content (Press Enter)
facebook Twitter Linked In Instagram Pinterest Youtube Rss

Study Abroad Programs put Adventure Within Reach

For many, the idea of studying abroad is as quintessential a college experience as playing frisbee on the quad or reading a textbook under a shady oak tree.

And while much of the stereotypical college imagery isn’t always realistic, the opportunity to study abroad—even through local community colleges—is more attainable than many realize.

MCC is part of the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP), which offers fall, spring, and summer programs in Austria, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, and Spain, and a summer program in France. 

"Through ICISP, we’re able to offer high-quality study abroad programs at an affordable price,” said Lindsay Carson, Interim Dean of Arts and Humanities at MCC. “MCC tuition is waived for students the semester they’re studying abroad, even though they are earning MCC credit. And there are scholarships available to help offset the program fee, which covers tuition, housing, and excursions. If students are interested in studying abroad but aren’t sure they can afford it, I encourage them to consider the summer programs which are less intimidating. Students still benefit from a study abroad experience but at a much lower cost."

Second-year MCC student Evelyn Bustos recently returned from a month of studying humanities and beginner French in Dijon, France.

“I wanted to immerse myself in a new culture and learn different points of view while simultaneously furthering my education,” Bustos said. “MCC made it easy to go through the logistics. I was able to speak with an alum about her study abroad experience, and attended a workshop that gave me a lot of information.”

Bustos also leaned on Lindsay Carson to help guide her through the process.

“Lindsay was a huge help; she explained and encouraged me every step of the way.”

Carson also informed Bustos about a $500 scholarship opportunity from the Illinois Consortium of International Studies and Programs.

“When I realized I was eligible, I knew I had to apply,” Bustos said. “I tried diligently to express my passion for studying abroad through my writing.”

Bustos received the scholarship, which brought her dream of studying abroad more in reach.

“The entire experience was so enriching,” she said. “From visiting historical museums to indulging in soft pastries, there is something for everyone when studying abroad. I discovered a lot about both myself and France. It was exciting to reflect not only on my culture, but others, and to realize how my perspective is only one of many in a vast and captivating world.”

Another MCC student, Alyssa Kasey, recently returned from her experience studying in Ireland.

“What I enjoyed the most was getting to meet other students in the program and the locals who lived in Ireland,” Kasey said. “We all got along so easily and laughed all the time. The staff members of Carlow College were extremely welcoming and supportive. Meeting individuals in shops and on the street was always fun because they took the time to ask us about ourselves.”

Kasey also found the travel component to be easy.

“The staff members at Carlow College always made sure we were doing okay and frequently asked us how we were adjusting. Everything is set up for you, which really makes traveling and lodging comfortable to manage.”

Kasey received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to help with her studies. The national scholarship awards up to $5,000 to U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad.

“Life is much bigger than the small bubble you live in at home, and it is crucial to step outside your comfort zone and explore,” Kasey said. “You develop and discover so much about yourself, and you can use the time to reflect on who you are and the person you want to become. It gives you such a profound sense of confidence.”

Bustos agreed.

“Living with a sense of adventure is one of the most valuable things I learned while studying abroad. My time in Dijon shaped and molded me in ways I never expected.”

Both students would heartily encourage others to study abroad.

“It truly is a one-of-a-kind and priceless experience,” said Bustos. “It is so much more than just something to put on your resume; you come out of the experience enhanced as an individual.”

“I will always encourage students to study abroad,” Kasey added. “In fact, if there is a student reading this and looking for a sign, this is it! It is an unforgettable experience. The people you meet, the memories you make, and the growth and independence you gain are so worth it.”

Find more information about MCC’s study abroad programs.