NECC Students Study Abroad
At Northern Essex Community College learning takes place in many different settings. Sometimes it’s in the traditional brick-and mortar classroom, where whiteboards, desks, and books provide the tools for learning. Other times, and increasingly, it’s in the heart of the Andes, by the doors of ancient cathedrals, or high above the bustle of London streets – and it’s all thanks to the study abroad program.
Over the course of the past few years, NECC has enhanced its study abroad program to increase the short-term trips, which now run twice a year. All trips are approximately 10 days and count as program electives.
Recent trips have included Ecuador, England, Turkey, and Belize, with each country offering students a unique perspective on a specified topic. In Ecuador, for instance, students learned about the diverse makeup of South American subtropical ecosystems, exploring the hot springs at Termas Papallacta, the Napo River, and the slopes of Cotopaxi (one of the world’s tallest active volcanoes) in the process.
Such trips were made possible largely through the support of the NECC Foundation, Inc., which provides financial support to the college.
“The college support has allowed us to create new programs and continue to offer them at the lowest possible price, regardless of location or rising costs internationally,” says Marcy Yeager, executive director, Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center and NECC’s international programing. The affordable cost, coupled with the increase in shorter-term study abroad courses, has enabled a greater number of students to participate in the program college-wide.
The importance of international programs has become a growing topic of interest on the national stage. At a December 2014 Study Abroad and Global Citizenship Summit at the White House, research was cited that stated that students who take part in such programs are more likely to graduate on time, learn a second language, and develop multicultural awareness. Such research has helped boost the prospects for NECC’s own program.
“The national excitement for international programs has helped drive our growth, specifically through the increased aid offered,” adds Yeager.
But this news, she adds, is nothing new to NECC’s dedicated study abroad faculty. “They have known all along that these experiences are transformative. When the students return home they have a new drive!”