Study Abroad Program brings IVCC student to Europe

Katie Alleman, IV Leader Culture Editor

In 1986, Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP) began its mission to introduce culture into students’ lives. Over the years, 34 institutions have enrolled in the program. Included in those institutions is IVCC, which gives every IVCC student the opportunity to participate in International Education.

IVCC student Alex Hall is currently studying in England, but took an early spring break to visit France, Belgium, Brussels, Amsterdam and Rome. He was given the option to study in six countries: Austria, Costa Rica, England, France, Ireland, or Spain. According to Hall, there were a few qualifications that needed to be met in order to be accepted. The requirements include a B average or higher in ENG 1001 and an overall 2.5 GPA minimum.

Fortunately, any eligible IVCC student can join the program. ICISP is available to not only IVCC but any public or private community college in Illinois.

The option to study abroad is also open to any four-year students in Illinois. However, any student from a four-year institution must be invited. Money is actually the only major issue that stops students from putting in an application. “Tuition is the most substantial cost,” said Hall. Hall comments that for anyone really interested in studying abroad, it can usually be managed financially.

In Hall’s experience, it is surprisingly easy to live and travel with a minimal amount of money. In the end, it is the student’s decision to live as frugal or lavishly as they want.

Preparation for the trip is the individual’s freedom. Excluding the need for a passport, it is all about personal preferences. For instance, Hall chose not to bring many clothes. Instead he decided he would purchase clothes in England. In Hall’s words, “I think one of the significant parts is preparing yourself mentally.”

Luckily, Hall has not been completely on his own in England. Currently, he is rooming with a host family. Hall believes it is a different experience from living in dorms, and allows for a more immersed and better understanding of the culture.

Studying abroad does not exempt Hall from any schoolwork. At the university, there is nearly every course imaginable, but Hall is enrolled in History and British Studies classes, furthering his knowledge about England.

Ultimately, Hall says he recommends that any student interested should apply for the study abroad program.

“The experiences you can have are unique and it allows you to evolve as a person, changing you for the better,” Hall said.

Once reaching the location, Hall encourages others to travel as much as possible to ensure full engagement into the culture.

Hall recommends attempting to make friends outside of the American classmates present.

“Be adventurous. It is impossible to guess how many opportunities you have to travel, so I suggest seize every moment there is,” Hall said.

At the end of the semester, a new student will be selected to study abroad. If any student is interested in the ICISP study abroad program, more information can be found on the IVCC website or from contact coordinator Steve Alvin.