SRJC Study Abroad: Florence 2020 meetings begin


Courtesy of Northern California Study Abroad Consortium.

The SRJC Study Abroad program is a cooperative effort of multiple Northern California schools. This spring’s program will be in Florence, Italy.

Allison Khadoo, Staff Writer

Santa Rosa Junior College Professor Jeanette Ben Farhat held the first study abroad meeting for students interested in the Spring 2020 trip to Florence, Italy on Aug. 28. 

Ben Farhat painted the vibrant life of Florence by discussing cultural activities and architecture only found in Florence. A few highlights mentioned were the Duomo Cathedral and varying artwork—from Michelangelo’s David to local street art.

According to Ben Farhat, the greatest benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture, not as a tourist, but as a temporary resident. 

“Living abroad allows you to experience a different way of life and to view your own society from a different perspective. In an interconnected world, developing a global perspective is an important life and career skill,” Ben Farhat said.

After receiving ample information on the study abroad program, many students at the meeting seemed convinced. 

“I want to study abroad because I feel like it’s the best way to learn and appreciate another culture,” said SRJC nursing major Jillian Raiger. “In the meeting, honestly I learned that you can become friends with people in an hour and that if you are open minded you can create long-lasting friendships.”

The meeting also covered fees and types of courses offered.

The fee is $7,995 per person, with options for a meal plan and transportation package.

The fee of nearly $8,000 includes apartment accommodations in the center of Florence; a student orientation covering safety, transportation and cultural differences; a half day guided walking tour of Florence; and a welcome reception. A study center with 24-hour emergency services, a weekly culture class, guided day trips to the Tuscan towns of Siena and San Gimignano, free WiFi and a mandatory police registration are also included.

The program, despite seeming like a vacation, is still very academically centered.

“One important thing to know before studying abroad is that you actually have to study.  The semester is compressed into 12 weeks and it moves quickly, so you can’t spend all of your time traveling,” Ben Farhat said.

Classes are offered not only through Santa Rosa Junior College, but also through three other community colleges—Contra Costa, Los Rios and San Mateo. These colleges offer a similar program and have students that travel alongside the SRJC. Introductory courses in English, sociology, anthropology and political science are some of the courses offered.

The program departs for Florence on Feb. 1, 2020 and ends May 1, 2020.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 27 for priority and Nov. 8 for the general application.