A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC’s study abroad program sends students to Florence, Italy for the Spring semester

Courtesy SRJC
The destination for SRJC’s study abroad program for Spring 2024 semester is Florence Italy, where Italian faculty will teach students about local food, politics and architecture in addition to regular coursework.

Lifelong benefits can be available for Santa Rosa Junior College students willing to travel 6,000 miles outside their comfort zone, and, through the SRJC study abroad program, that opportunity is right around the corner.

The SRJC Study Abroad program’s destination for the Spring 2024 semester is Florence, Italy. Set to depart in February, students will embark on a three-month journey, consisting of everything from gelato tours to mafia history instruction, while simultaneously taking 12 units of transferable credit college courses. 

Along with SRJC coursework, instructors from Contra Costa, Los Rios and San Mateo Community Colleges will also offer classes. SRJC Instructor Kirsten Swinstrom will teach three biology courses.

Students will also be able to take courses in history, anthropology and English. An Italian Life and Culture course is mandatory for all students; local Italian faculty members will give lectures on topics such as food, politics and architecture. Activities and field trips coincide with the subject matter offered in the lectures.

Swinstrom said the trip offers students more than just education. “Students who study abroad gain personal skills like self-confidence and flexibility, build their intercultural competence and make new friends while having an amazing adventure,” she said.

The American Institute for Foreign Study works with the four community colleges to coordinate housing, cultural activities and excursions and also offers student counseling and advising. If students choose to purchase their flight through AIFS, staff members will assist students with getting to and from the airport. AIFS also offers a 24-hour emergency contact service. 

Students will live in apartments, with two people per room. The apartments include kitchens, full bathrooms, Wi-Fi and washing machines and are walking distance from major sites and the school itself. 

Outside of the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore Florence, soaking in all the beauty the city offers. For additional fees, optional flights to Rome, Venice, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are available to those interested.

The base pay for the program is $8,145, which includes the shared student apartment accommodations, weekly subsidized activities in Florence such as visits to museums, monuments, walking tours, cooking classes, and full-day excursions to Siena, San Gimignano and Chianti. Expenses not included are airfare, food, tuition fees and textbooks. 

Besides the travel and life experience, studying abroad can also add to one’s resume. “There’s a lot of interest from companies in having employees having international and intercultural experience,” Swinstrom said. “Studying abroad shows that you have adaptability, independence, and that you can communicate across cultures. It shows a different experience than someone who hasn’t traveled abroad before.” 

To qualify for Study Abroad, SRJC students must be at least 18 and have completed 12 units while maintaining a 2.25 GPA or higher. 

For students interested in financial aid for the Florence 2024 program they can contact Lauren Colbern at financial aid at [email protected], and scholarships may be available. More information about the trip or financial aid can also be found on the SRJC study abroad website

The study abroad program’s destination for Fall 2024 is in London.

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About the Contributor
Oscar DeJung
Oscar DeJung, Reporter
Oscar is in his first semester at the Oak Leaf, and will be transferring to Sonoma State in the Spring of 2024, majoring in Communications.

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