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In 2019, Peralta Colleges offered 8 programs sending 110 students abroad. You can read the full report from 2019 programs by Clicking Here
The Institute for International Education (IIE) reports that fewer than 10% of American college students participate in international study programs, and less than 25% of those students are from underrepresented minority groups. More than 60% of Peralta Community College District (PCCD) students qualify for Federal financial aid (PELL grants) and the idea of study abroad seems to be far out of reach for them. Educators understand that a study abroad experience can be a life-changing, transformative event offering students a new found sense of confidence or independence, the ability to learn a new language, and an increased ability to successfully work in diverse work environments.
PCCD Study Abroad, Dance and Intercultural Communications in Ghana (2018) – Halima Mahdee
Laney College Cosmetology in London (2017) – Alicia Cardenas
College of Alameda Business in Cuba, 2018
In 2014, PCCD joined the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad (GSA) initiative. Joining IIE’s GSA focused the institution on increasing study abroad participation each year since 2014 through initiatives such as organizing a study abroad fair and creating new marketing materials. PCCD is deeply committed to making study abroad a reality for more of our student body through the Office of International Education. Peralta sends 50-70 students on faculty led study abroad programs annually and has a goal of doubling this number in 2019 to over 100 students.
For Peralta’s study abroad programs to Cuba, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and China (64 students total) offered during the summer 2018 term, ethnicities include:
5% – Asian or Pacific Islander (3),
46% African American (29),
17% Hispanic (11),
7% Multiracial (5),
5% White Non-Hispanic (3)
20% Unknown/Decline to State (13).
28% of the students were first generation college students, and 80% of the students indicated that they were the first person in their family to study abroad. 37% of the students said they had never traveled abroad before.
There is a great need to grow the study abroad program at PCCD. The majority of the students we serve come from low socio-economic backgrounds and are not your typical study abroad students. One reason there are not more programs at our district is due to the fact that we do not have a study abroad budget available to support our faculty who lead the programs, or for any other costs associated including marketing and promotion, and supplies. Faculty must pay out of their own pocket the expenses for setting up their programs, which may include traveling to the country themselves. Faculty fees are built into the student costs which place the financial burden of paying faculty expenses on the students.
Drew Gephart is the International Services Manager for the Peralta Community College District located in Oakland, California. He has a published chapter “Low-Cost Initiatives for Expanding Study Abroad Opportunities” in the first book on community college education abroad “Study Abroad Opportunities for Community College Students and Strategies for Global Learning (IGI-Global). He currently develops and manages enrollment for special programs related to international education, as well as oversees all study abroad programs. Drew organized the district’s first annual study abroad fair in 2014 and was awarded a scholarship of $15,000 to provide six Peralta students $2,500 each to study abroad. He also presented at the Institute of International Education’s conference on “Models and Best Practices in Internationalization at the Community College” and NAFSA’s Region XII conference on “Designing Effective Familiarization Tours for International Recruitment Partners”. Drew has written two successful proposals for the California Colleges for International Education (CCIE) grants to support the internationalization of the Peralta Colleges and strengthening of the international programs. Drew earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay.