Let’s go take a trip. Italy study abroad program at ECC


Camryn Cutinello

Poster for the Italy study abroad program are posted around the school.

Breyana Perry, Staff Writer

If you’ve ever dreamed about studying where it looks like Medieval Times or even somewhere with better scenery then where you go to school now, then you’re going to want to continue reading. Elgin Community College is now offering a new study abroad program in Italy.

It will be a four-week-long program that will run from May 17 to June 14, 2020. It includes a capstone weekend in Rome, Italy. ECC has partnered with Centro Studi Italiani to make this dream happen to become a reality.

Lauren Nehlsen, the Director for International Education and Programs at ECC, discusses how the program with Centro Studi Italiani provides affordable and quality experiences for ECC students. Students that do take the time to apply to study abroad will get to study in Italy and earn credit in Italian language and culture that can be applied towards their degree or certificate.

Typically all students who are qualified and desire to study abroad are matched with a program that best suits their educational and professional goals.

“This is a wonderful and life-changing opportunity for any student interested in Italian culture and language, and it’s competitively priced,” Nehlsen said.

Now studying abroad comes with many great benefits. A few benefits are traveling to a new place and getting new life experiences, meeting new people, learning about a new culture, career opportunities and many other things.

So how is studying abroad different from studying in-state? There are so many obvious reasons why studying in a country other than the United States is different than going to another state.

“When you study abroad, you open yourself to a new experience and a new culture,” Nehlsen said. “You are experiencing another culture first-hand and learn more about yourself than you would have imagined. Cultural immersion is the best way to be engaged in a foreign culture and further understanding of diverse communities in other parts of the world.”

“It’s also a great way to meet new people – I still talk with friends I met on my first study abroad experience from when I was in college,” Nehlsen said.

For freshman Alexis Robinson, she’s always had considered going out of the country to study abroad but never thought it would be possible to get in.

“I have thought about going to go study abroad but never really gave it too much thought about the whole process of getting in,” Robinson said. “But the requirements for ECC seem more reasonable.”

Thomas Connor, a fourth-semester student at ECC, can’t wait for his opportunity to apply to study abroad at ECC.

“Both my parents went to study abroad when they were in college and my older brother did too,” Connor said. “They all said they had great experiences and fun stories to tell during their time in a different country. And I want to be able to experience that too one day.”

Students must meet the following requirements to apply for the Italy program. Students have to be 18 or over by the program start date. They must have a 2.5 GPA. They must have completed at least 12 semester hours. They must complete the application process available online at elgin.edu/studyabroad.

For those who are considering applying but are nervous about the changes, Nehlsen states the Italy program is faculty-led by Dr. David Zacker, and students will have full access to the resources and services from Centro Studi Italiani. The faculty leader will help students with adjustment to Italian life and culture in Italy.