Students Travel Abroad for Summer Session

Jennifer Tinoco

GCC students will be traveling to Armenia and Italy by the end of this month, the study abroad program will also explore Australia and New Zealand in Jan. 2008.

The Armenia trip will be the first group to leave for the summer abroad. For a total of $3,125 (not including airline taxes and GCC enrollment fees) students will get to explore the country for three and half weeks.

Levon Marashlian is the faculty director for the trip and was first to conduct an Armenia trip for GCC in the Summer of 2005. Marashlian will be teaching Armenian History 121 which is also a transferable course.
Along with Lilit Galstian who will be teaching Conversational Armenian 110, she has also authored three books and numerous articles and translations on literature and language.

Professor of art Levon Chookaszian will be teaching art, architecture, cultural history and contemporary society of Armenia (also CSU transferable). Chookaszian is also the chair in Armenian Art History at Yerevan State University and has lectured in Europe and the Soviet Union.

Only a day later on June 21, another group of GCC students will be in Italy for an entire month, returning on July 21. For $3,999 (excluding tax and GCC fees) the program features History 101, Astronomy 101, Italian 110 and International Field Studies 148. With sightseeing to Rome, Florence, Verona, Lake Bolsena and much more.

Flavio Frontini, who is a native of Bologna, Italy, teaches Italian language here on campus. “This is my third time participating in study abroad and I do feel that this program is fun and successful,” said Frontini.

“Italian culture is similar to Latino and Armenian culture, which is much more different than American culture. I think a trip to Italy brings out a unique learning experience,” added Frontini. “I love Italian food and since I am very familiar with the place [Italy] I know exactly where to take our students for the best quality food and cheaper prices,” said Frontini.

David Hurst will be teaching Astronomy and has also joined Frontini and Roger Bowerman in previous Italy trips. Hurst has taught astronomy and humanities, as well as other sciences, at GCC for over 30 years.

Bowerman, Chair of the Social Sciences Division, has been on three previous study abroad trips to Italy. ” My first trip was in 1998 and ever since then I have fallen in love with the city of Florence,” said Bowerman.

“It’s a totally different lifestyle and every year has been a success with bright students,” said Bowerman.
“I think that every year is a very unique experience. Since there is a different set of students, there’s also different personalities that shape each group,” added Bowerman.

The Study Abroad Director, Darren Leaver, has been in charge of this program for the past three years. Leaver has traveled to over 70 countries and will be attending the study abroad in Australia from January through February 2008.

“These trips are always fun but it is also a tremendous amount of work and responsibility, as we are basically on the clock 24/7 for a month. However, when you see the changes that occur in the world view of the students that participate…it is all worth the effort,” said Leaver. And safety is what always comes first.

Along with Leaver who will be teaching Regional Geography, Chris Juzwiak will teach Humanities 120 and Kim Foong-Chong will be teaching Math 136.

Juzwiak taught in Australia and in New Zealand for GCC in 2006 with a primary focus on Aboriginal and Maori literature. Foong Chong will teach statistics during this trip and has visited Australia and New Zealand in 2002 and 2006 for GCC study abroad programs.
This future trip in 2008 will include daily breakfasts, sightseeing at Waitomo Cave, glacier walking at Fox Glacier and a cruise at the harbor of Sydney. There is also an optional Fiji Islands extension. If the students are willing to pay, this will occur after the New Zealand and Australia study abroad is over and it will not be a part of study abroad.

There might not be a problem for the Fiji trip to occur since Australia and Europe are popular places that students want to visit. “We try to design programs to places that the students want to go to, but we must also combine an educational component that allows for a blend of learning and fun,” said Leaver.

“We would ultimately like students to experience places that are out of the ordinary for them, such as developing countries in Latin America, Asia and even Africa. Our plan is to offer future programs to such places in addition to our regular locations, but this will take some time,” added Leaver.

For more information on the study abroad program, Leaver may be contacted at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5718.

Leaver also added, “this is an enormously important program to expose our students to the realities of the world around us.
“Students that come back are changed forever, and many of them establish lasting bonds with their fellow students as well as with people they meet in the host country. The experience lasts a lifetime…”