By Shawanda Kinsey / Staff Writer
By Shawanda Kinsey / Staff Writer
Taking the every day general courses at Riverside City College can be a little mundane, but taking those same courses while exploring the captivating sights of Florence, Italy or Beijing, China can be an experience of a lifetime.
This has been made possible thanks to Jan Schall, an associate of Sociology and the Study Abroad program director, who has been with RCC for 40 years and involved in many activities and clubs on this campus, earning her the countless awards that decorate the walls of her office.
Schall has been taking education overseas since the start of the Study Abroad program 22 years ago.
Schall highly recommends that students take part in this life enriching experience for one main reason.
“It changes the lives of every single student who attends,” she said. “They even become more mature, sophisticated, and responsible, something their parents like and it changes their world view.”
Since the program’s start, it has changed the lives of many of the students and faculty who take part in it.
Students, who were apart of the program, have decided to stay in Europe to continue their education.
“We have students who are now at the University of Rome, University of Florence, the London School of Economics, and those working all throughout Europe because they participated in the study abroad program and decided to move back to that country and obtain a full degree,” Schall said.
In addition to their school work, students are encouraged to explore the country.
“Students are in class Monday through Thursday, so that gives them Thursday afternoon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for travel if they would like because we really want them to experience the culture,” Schall said. “In addition they have a full week fall break so they can travel throughout Europe.”
Schall works on making sure that the classes offered by the Study Abroad program meet the Inter-segmental General Education Transfer Curriculum so students can still receive financial aid and get financial assistance for the trip.
The Study Abroad program is offered during the spring and fall semesters to students from Riverside City College, Norco College and Moreno Valley College.
Until six years ago there were also six week summer programs but due to the downturn of the economy the summer programs became too expensive.
“Our summer programs became almost as expensive as our full semester programs and we decided that it was too expensive to offer the Study Abroad program during the summer,” Schall said.
This economic setback did not stop them from offering an inexpensive oversees tour during the summer.
“An idea was conceived to do short term tours and do an outreach to the community so that the community is more involved,” Schall said.
For the last six years Schall has been directing these short term tours under the summer study tour program.
This is a two week tour that carries a one unit credit course from the Sociology department and is open to everyone.
“This outreach to the community has been very successful, they’re exactly what we wanted them to be,” Schall said. “Students, faculty, staff members, administrators, community and even families have taken part in these summer study tours.”
Anyone who signs up for the tour signs up for the one unit course special studies and culture written by Schall. Along with the tour there are six lectures that cover the course and relate to the tour itself.
“People in the community enjoy it because it is more of an educational tour than just a straight tour that they get from a travel agent,” Schall said.
These programs give everyone the opportunity to travel, even those who may not have traveled otherwise.
Schall is one of these people; prior to starting this program she had not done much traveling.
“Before traveling to England to start up this program, I had been on a plane one time for one hour to Sacramento,” Schall said. “‘Has this program changed my life?’ Oh yeah.”
“Many of our staff who would not travel on their own and even faculty who would not necessarily strike out and say, ‘gee I want to go to Turkey; wait a minute the college is going I’ll go with them,'” Schall said. “They feel secure going with us, they have a wonderful time, they’re going with people they already know, and then we have people from the community from teachers to attorneys to medical doctors joining us as well.”
For those interested in participating in this summer’s study program, applications are now being accepted for the few remaining spaces and may be turned in to Schall’s office in Quadrangle 100.