Peralta Colleges

Office of International Education
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Faces of Study Abroad

Peralta’s Office of International Education is committed to finding new and creative solutions to enable students to participate in the study abroad experience. Study abroad improves student learning by integrating knowledge with real life experiences, creates a lasting learning experience for everyone, promotes the colleges and their programs on a global level, and provides an opportunity where students and faculty develop a greater appreciation for other cultures and become more globally aware.
Drew Gephart, International Services Manager

Dr. Siri Brown (Administrator), Jamaica

Students come back from studying abroad with facts and information that would have taken a whole semester to accomplish. Not just remote facts, but critical analysis and insight that’s much deeper than memorizing something while sitting in a classroom. I’m a big advocate of that I’ve seen the impact.

Dana Lenoir (Student), Jamaica

I think if there is an opportunity to study abroad anywhere, I say ‘go’ because it’s not only a different scenery, it’s the people, the culture. There’s more out there in the world than we see on a day-to-day basis.

Devyn Morris (Student), Japan

I’m trying to learn more… and really find ties and travel, have those experiences to learn more about myself and grow.

Rika Ward-Hunter (Student), London

I felt like I wouldn’t be able to get this opportunity anywhere else but with the school. The way that everything was structured and setup with the tour guide, it was more thought through going with the school as opposed to me just trying to go to London and getting into the hair industry by myself.

Dominique Brown (Student), London

It was a great experience to be there and to come back with a certification from a makeup school and also certification from ‘Toni and Guy’. It’s a life push for when we get out of school, we’ll have more credentials than just a certification or our AAA degrees.

Alicia Cardenas (Student), London

I wanted to go on the trip to see a whole different country and so I could learn and see different parts of that industry as well as what they do differently.

Louis Goltz (Staff), London

Not everyone has the opportunity to go work with the people who inspired them growing up. My mission was to take these people to get experience – this is a gift I wanted to give to the community.

Anthony Powell (Faculty), Jamaica

It’s not just our students, faculty need to go beyond that forty mile radius, go beyond their masters and their PhDs and explore the world – because when you do that, you bring that richness back to our classroom. We forget that we’re learners as well. Traveling abroad and taking students abroad is something that benefits the institution as a whole.

Deshawn Campbell (Student), Jamaica

Just to be outside of the Bay Area, outside of Oakland… I can tell you from my background I’ve never been out of California. My first time out of California was this Jamaica trip.…never been outside of San Francisco, Sacramento you don’t dream about going out of the country, you’re hoping to make it to the next day.

Thomas Torres-Gil (Administrator)

Any opportunities our students can get to have an out-of-area experience, it can be life-changing, it can open up one door or show them one thing that might put their lives on a different path. There is a lot that can stop you from doing what you’d like to do, but when you have an experience where you’re shown different ways by different people it can help you feel comfortable and confident in going that route yourself.

Nicole Kelly (Staff), China

I ran into one of the mothers of a student that was on the trip this last summer, she had her young daughter with her. She was in the library at College of Alameda and said that she had just seen Drew in the international office and was trying to sign her daughter and her son up for a study abroad. She said “it is mandatory for all of her children to do a study abroad program” because she see she saw just how much her daughter was affected positively by study abroad. I think that’s why every student whether it’s at Peralta whether it’s University or personal it’s very important for people to travel students parents whoever it’s very important to we live in a global economy so we need to get in tune and in touch with people from other cultures.

Okoriba Korubo (Student), Cuba

I’m really appreciative of Peralta Community Colleges for giving me the opportunity to experience Cuba because I don’t think I would have gone on my own.

Jacqueline Burgess (Faculty), Ghana

Students were able to participate in the inaugural installation of the new king of the Ashanti nation, it was absolutely incredible! But even better than that, we were invited to the palace for a personal dinner.

Halima Mahdee (Student), Ghana

I will tell students: certain materials that we’re used to, going out the movies, getting your nails done, shoes etc. that is not important. The benefits of that trip, going to Ghana, going ‘home’ to learn about yourself and learn about your ancestors is gonna push you through your whole life.

Andrea Lee (Faculty), Ghana

It increases your academic profile, it’s great for your showing your 21st century global education skills which all employers want to know. We really just try to keep students motivated along the way, to make it happen.

Kwesi Wilson (Faculty), Ghana

Students that go, especially if you’re an african-american, it’s more like a coming home to them. It’s like a pilgrimage where you’re going to learn about yourself. Many of have not even left the country…and so this motherland, this mythological place that people think about, but when you go there in flesh and blood it’s so surreal to a lot of people. You’re confronting your history, you’re confronting what slaves went through, your ancestors went through.

Brazile Clark (Student), China

I really want to thank Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who without her support, especially her financial support this trip wouldn’t have been possible. The trip and it’s participants were composed of students of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds that without this opportunity, wouldn’t have been able to go to China. Especially wouldn’t have been able to go to China with all expenses paid, learning the language, learning the culture, going to activities and being placed on high priority at those activities.

William Sutton IV (Student), China

Had I not heard about it and applied, I certainly would not have had the opportunity to go. I wasn’t eve really thinking about it before because it was so expensive and you know, different factors. My biggest takeaway was just… pure joy honestly. It was an incredibly fun joyous experience and I’d highly recommend this program to anyone. If you have a chance to apply absolutely, absolutely take it – it’ll change your life!

Dr. Tracey Coleman (Faculty), Cuba

People have always heard about Cuba and having to be able to go and understand from the Cubans their perspective on Cuba, is a lot different than what many of us have been taught in the US. I think that was a big takeaway for a lot of them that they expressed afterwards.

Getting that perspective to find out everything that you hear, you need to validate and so they validated it with people who were actually there and experienced everything, they were able to get truth to the conversation.

Violeta De Leon (Student), Japan

We travel and we are (all) different, but we all have the same language: to live with harmony, to respect… you discover this.

Simon Chan (Faculty), Japan

This was one of my students first time applying for a passport and their first time abroad to see the other side of  the world

So they not learned something about the principles of of retail, they also experienced and have a life memory they won’t forget from the trip.