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By Krista Cascio
If you’ve ever had the desire to experience a life outside of your own, to become the person you see in the pictures of famous places, to experience the world as it’s happening around you – Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) can afford you such an opportunity.
Through EF Tours, 4Cs is able to offer its students an eight-day adventure abroad. EF Tours, based out of Boston, has been doing tours for 50 years. The tour program puts together the itinerary, accommodations, local authentic cuisine menu and 24/7 tour guides as well as local guides so that you can get the absolute most out of your trip with the most comfort.
4Cs Professor Amy Clark introduced this program to 4Cs three years ago. In a recent interview, Clark recalls her own experience studying abroad and accredits those experiences as life changing. In fact, an experience abroad that she included in her resume is what landed Clark her very first teaching job. Clark bonded with her interviewer about their shared interest in Guatemala, where Clark had just returned from.
“It was that little piece of me that was different – it changed my life,” said Clark.
Clark believes that it’s important to travel not only to gain worldly point of views, but also because it just might be the thing that gets your foot in the door of a college admission interview or a job interview.
Clark and EF Tours understand the climate that today’s college students live in, stressing the importance of being cultured while also respecting the tight financial situation that many college students find themselves in. Although the $3500 tour can appear to be a steep price to some of us, this eight-day vacation is all inclusive and comes at a fraction of the cost of a semester abroad.
“Even my own kids that are college students, they don’t have the time or the money,” said Clark. “They have that opportunity to take a whole semester to go live in a whole other country and experience that culture, which I still think is valuable.” says Clark.
Clark says it’s unlikely that 4Cs will ever see its own semester-long study abroad program, but that this current opportunity is the school’s answer to that dilemma.
“A lot of students here only take two or three classes because they’re working, because they have kids or whatever reason,” said Clark. “That’s why they’re here; because they’re trying to do a million things at once. So, this allows them to do a million and one.”
Clark is working to create an ‘egg-nest fund’ for the program as a financial support of sorts. She’s hoping to be able to back students who are planning on attending the trip with some of the funds to lessen the financial burden and allow them to experience other cultures in full effect, without worrying too much about fitting the whole bill themselves.
“Financial aid can be used towards it, but students have to do the leg work for it,” said Clark.
Another benefit of the EF Tours study abroad program is that you have the chance to receive one science credit, so long as you keep a journal. The idea of the assignment is to observe the life going on around you. Document your whereabouts, observe the local cultural and the effects of tourism on the environment and include your thoughts on what travel means a form of global education.
Maia DeLuca is working on creating a website to boost the presence of the study abroad program on campus. She touts the chance to earn a college credit as a major benefit of the relatively short trip abroad.
“It’s worth one science credit and all you have to do is keep a journal,” said DeLuca, who explained that she keeps a journal in her own time anyway.
DeLuca went on the previous study abroad tour to Europe, where she spent some time in both London and Paris.
“First time going on a trip, I had to get my passport,” said DeLuca. “It was my first big trip and it was beyond incredible. I never thought I’d leave the state, let alone the whole country. Just being able to see what other cultures are like was very eye-opening”.
There are no class prerequisites necessary to be considered for this trip. In fact, you do not even have to be a student of 4Cs to attend one of these journeys. If you are a student or first time traveler and you would find comfort in bringing a friend who attends another school, or maybe a relative or significant other who you would like to spend some quality time with, they are welcome on this excursion.
Clark explained that any faculty member can host a trip abroad through EF Tours. Both Clark and DeLuca credited EF Tours with being super accommodating. EF Tours seeks to help with any financial, educational, or even dietary needs.
On this particular spring trip to Belize, Clark and DeLuca are anticipating learning about coral reef restoration, doing some exotic bird watching, exploring native villages and feasting on authentic local cuisine.
An eight-day trip filled to the brim with activities sets the stage for a life experience unlike any other. If you’re looking to get the experience of studying abroad, or if you just want to travel at an affordable cost, then this opportunity is for you. You can sign up by yourself and make new friends, or you can bring someone you already know along to share the experience of new cultures together.
The spring 2020 trip to Belize is from May 25 through June 1, and you can e-mail Amy Clark for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can enroll online at EFCST.COM/2156600NY.