Study Abroad Program Offers Life-Changing Experiences

Students looking for something outside of the traditional college experience could always try enrolling in a study abroad program.

At Jamestown Community College, the study abroad program can take many forms, tailoring itself to fit the needs of individual students. According to Greg Rabb, study abroad program coordinator for JCC, no matter which route a student decides to take, the study abroad experience will always manifest in a life-changing way.

“It really does change their lives dramatically. I wish I had these opportunities when I was their age,” said Rabb. “I’ve been with (the program) long enough to see some students’ lives change personally and professionally. But they all come back changed, and a lot of them decide to change their majors because of their experiences.”

At JCC, the study abroad experience can be felt in varying degrees. Through the college’s membership in the College Consortium of International Studies, students can participate in the international studies program, which includes full-semester or summer studies. The program is open to sophomores with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and freshmen with exceptional academic credentials. The students can earn up to 15 credits to put toward their JCC degrees.

The college also offers short-term study abroad programs, and has recently begun offering international internships. In the inaugural year of providing these internships, the college’s experiential learning office currently has three students teaching English in China and Spain.

One Jamestown native who is being recognized for her study abroad experience is Stephanie Corbelli, a 2011 graduate of the Bethel Baptist Christian Academy.

Now a sophomore education major at Ohio Valley University in West Virginia, Corbelli submitted an article detailing some of the highlights of participating in a study abroad program in Europe to West Virginia Senior High magazine. Her article, called “This Treasure Called Education,” was selected for publication in the magazine, and also landed her on the magazine cover.

“I never imagined that I would be able to go to Europe, but my school made it possible,” Corbelli said in her article. “And it is not too early, even as a high school student evaluating colleges, to inquire about foreign study opportunities in general and with regard to your specific field of study. Traveling and learning are both great experiences, and I recommend you give both of them a chance.”

Rabb said that, while some students go abroad to teach, others go abroad to learn.

“It’s really up to the students when they come to see me. Some go abroad to learn the language, but our program is structured so, if you go to a country that doesn’t speak English, you can get three courses in English and one in the (native) language.”

He added: “It’s fun to watch (the students) grow and change. Of all the things that I do at the college, I think this is what changes them the most. It’s not that I want to get rid of kids and push them out of the Jamestown area, but sometimes they get so excited and want to explore their world.”