Around the world in 84 days

A look at the ins and outs of San Diego City College’s Study Abroad program

Heder Casas

Have you always dreamed about traveling around the world and learning about new cultures? If your answer is yes, then studying abroad may be an option for you.

San Diego City College “offers students the opportunity to study in different countries around the world in order to develop global competencies and to increase cultural awareness while making progress towards completion of academic goals,” according to its website.

Study abroad programs are offered during the fall and spring semester for a period of eight to 12 weeks and during the summer for four weeks.

The program’s website states that “programs have taken place in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Spain (Barcelona, Madrid and Salamanca), United Kingdom (Oxford and London) coordinated by City College, in conjunction with one of two California study abroad consortia, and/or in partnership with other California community colleges.

Short-term study abroad programs coordinated by City College have also been offered in such locations as Madrid, Spain; Cuernavaca, Mexico (four weeks and two weeks), Ensenada, Mexico (one week), and Costa Rica (four weeks).”

Perhaps the most important benefits is the opportunity to see the world while experiencing a new country with different outlooks, customs and activities.

Students will experience different styles of education and one of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet new lifelong friends from different backgrounds.

Saul Ruiz Velazco, a former San Diego City College student and employee at the Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) at City, accomplished one of his goals of traveling to Florence, Italy on a 12-week study abroad program.

While taking the first course of Italian, Ruiz Velazco’s teacher told the class about continuing with the course in Italy while also taking some art classes. Ruiz didn’t think twice about it and by mid-September he was already in Italy about to start his new adventure.

“I always wanted to go to Italy since I was twelve- years- old and while taking this course I had the opportunity so I took it, and I’m planning going back next year,” Ruiz Velazco said. “I went with my counselor to see what classes I need to take in Italy. Before traveling I receive a package with all the instructions; general information, a map of Italy, my educational plan, and emergency numbers in case we need it.”

Classes taken abroad are transferable to California State University, University of California and other private universities which are specifically selected to take advantage of the country students are traveling to.

“When I got to Italy, there were taxis already waiting for me and the other students, ready to take us to our new home,” Ruiz Velazco said. “I went to school from Monday thru Thursday and after school and the weekends I had time to go and explore Italy, Florence, Roma, Venice, Milan, Bologna, Spain, Germany and France.”

The cost of this particular experience was of $8,750, but financial aid for semester and possibly summer programs is available to students who qualify.

“It was an amazing experience and I truly recommend to everyone if they can to study abroad, you won’t regret,” Ruiz Velazco said.

Here is a list of the upcoming programs for studying abroad:

• Spring 2016 in Salamanca, Spain

• Summer 2016 in Bali, Indonesia

• Summer 2016 in Italy

• Summer 2016 in France

• Summer 2016 in Dublin, Ireland

• Fall 2016, in Paris, France

• Spring 2017 in Florence and Rome, Italy.

For more information about studying abroad, check out the program’s website at and contact Rosie Sandoval, the study abroad program coordinator at