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NCC offers new study abroad program

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Nash Community College students look down on Toronto from the CN Tower during their visit to the city.

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By Amelia Harper
Staff Writer

Friday, January 20, 2017

Students at Nash Community College will soon have the opportunity to take the field trip of a lifetime, and community members are invited to share the experience.

Nash Community College is launching a new Study Abroad Program that will allow students to take a 10-day trip to Peru to experience the natural wonders and culture that country has to offer. The effort is part of the college’s continuing focus on creating global citizens.

“Nash Community College encourages students to gain a global perspective, and we are hoping that this opportunity will allow as many students as possible to get that experience,” said Katie Hoffer, coordinator of the Study Abroad Program.

Hoffer said the idea for the Study Abroad Program has been under discussion for about a year.

“Last year, we had an opportunity for some of the students in our drama and British literature classes to go to Canada for the Stratford Festival so they could see four different Shakespearean plays presented. That five-day trip was a way to test the waters before we planned a trip for students to a location in a country with a different language than ours. The trip sort of kick-started us so that we could go to the next step in developing this program,” Hoffer said.

The trip to Peru will be the first one to be held as part of the new program. The trip, which is slated for May 2018, will be offered between the spring and summer semesters and will earn extra college credit for students who have taken select classes that are offered in connection with the trip. Hoffer said NCC plans to offer trips abroad every two years as part of the program and that field trips to Washington, D.C., and other more accessible locations may be offered in the intervening years.

“Our goal in this program is to provide an immersive experience that offered real-world connections,” Hoffer said. “This will not be your average tourist trip.”

Hoffer said the trip to Peru will include visits to Machu Piccu, the ancient Incan city perched among the Andes Mountains, and to Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water. The visit also will offer students the opportunity to experience the culture of Peru by staying with a host family for part of the trip and working on a service project to benefit the community.

“The visit to Peru will be an amazing experience because there is such a good mix of old world and modern cultures,” Hoffer said.

The cost of the trip will be roughly $3,750. However, Hoffer said the college has developed ways to help make the trip more affordable.

“Students who sign up for the trip will get their own webpage to track the money they are putting toward the trip,” Hoffer said. “They will also get a crowdfunding page, like GoFundMe, that will allow others to contribute to the cost. In addition, they will automatically become part of the Global Perspectives Scholars Club and can participate in fund-raising events through that.”

However, Hoffer said the best results will come for students who sign up soon because they will have the chance to earn matching scholarship funds for the trip.

“Nash Community College has a scholarship fund set aside for those who wish to study abroad,” Hoffer said. “Nash Community College will match any funds a student has collected in his or her study abroad account by May 2017. The funds will be matched from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,700. That can cut the cost of the trip almost in half.”

Area residents also can participate in the trip by signing up through the continuing education portal. However, these participants will not be eligible for the scholarships.

“The trip is open to adults of all ages but they have to physically be able to make the trip because there will be a lot of walking involved,” Hoffer said. “However, we encourage as many people as possible to participate. It will be a life-changing experience.”

Nash Community College will hold two information sessions about the trip in the next few weeks. Information sessions will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 in Building D, Room 4102 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 31 in Building D, Room 4214.

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