During Bellevue College’s International Week, the study abroad club hosted two fairs, on Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 to 12:30. The fairs both featured poster boards and brochures presenting information about different locations where Bellevue College students can study abroad including Australia, New Zealand, Berlin, Florence, Ireland, Chengdu, Beijing, Costa Rica, Barcelona and Japan. Events were hosted all week concerning cultures from different countries. The study abroad program hosted fairs during international week but runs all year long. The program also hosted multiple other events throughout the week including calligraphy and kung-fu lessons.
“If students visit every station [at the fair], they can get a good idea about what will be happening in the programs and what courses are paired up with which programs and finally, how they can use multiple means to finance their trip,” said Li Liu, study abroad coordinator.
“The study abroad program is housed in the arts and humanities division and is part of the Bellevue College global initiative, but it’s not attracting international students, it is trying to open up study abroad opportunities to Bellevue college students. It is a different direction but it still resonates with the global initiative that we are striving to achieve and improve here at Bellevue College,” added Liu.
The requirements for studying abroad are having two full quarters of study, being at least 17 years old, and having a cumulative GPA of 2.5. If students get started early enough with the program, apply for scholarships, and are eligible for financial aid, students can attend these trips even if initially they do not have enough funding available.
Studying abroad at Bellevue College is more cost effective than at a four-year university, for example University of Washington’s exploration seminar program ranges from $4,000 to $5,000. At Bellevue College, a program with the same level of rigor that features a similar destination can be offered at $2,000 to $3,000.
“We just started the club, we just had our inauguration last week. Our job is to get people active and study abroad and get excited about it. In the club we will help people fill out applications for scholarships and write essays,” said Amber Castaneda, co-president of the study abroad club.
“From my personal experience, when I first thought of studying abroad I thought it would be too hard and too expensive, but when you get into it and find your resources there are a lot of opportunities and scholarships,” said Adriana Brunetti, co-president of the study abroad club.
“You really get to appreciate what you have at home, and you get to learn a lot about so many other things. You think your world is what’s here but there really is so much out there. You get to learn about yourself and grow personally and intellectually and meet so many people and everything is so fun,” Brunetti added.
“It really helps to get outside your own world,” added Castaneda.
To learn more about Studying Abroad at Bellevue College, visit the Study Abroad Club’s website at bellevuecollege.edu/studyabroad and contact Li Liu. The study abroad club also holds an informative panel in the Bellevue College Cafeteria every Thursday.