Green River Community College is part of a consortium of Washington State community colleges (WCCCSA) formed more than 20 years ago to jointly send groups of students to study abroad. The groups are accompanied and typically taught by tenured faculty from participating institutions. The consortium has a long, successful history of the London Quarter and then over time other programs were added such as Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, and most recently South Africa.
Independent of WCCCSA, GRCC developed a Study Abroad program in Australia/New Zealand in the year 2000, now in its 14th year of successful operation. Students spend five weeks in Melbourne, Australia and then five weeks in Auckland, New Zealand. Australian partners are Newman College/University of Melbourne and UNITEC in Auckland. While technically not part of the WCCCSA consortium, other colleges in the State participate by enrolling their students in this program. The faculty leader is Dr. Bruce Haulman, a recently retired GRCC Social Science Division faculty member.
The most recent addition is a GRCC Study Abroad program in Japan developed in partnership with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Atsugi, Japan. Led by faculty member Gary Oliveira (Patrick Navin) of the Fine Arts Division, the program enjoyed its first successful pilot in 2009. The program has been offered each fall quarter and continues to be very popular with students. In 2012 the program moved to Tokyo and was hosted by the Jikei Language School in the Nishi-Kasai area. Beginning in Fall quarter 2014 the program will be in hosted by Kogakuin University at their campus in Hachioji, in the Tokyo area. The program will be led by two GRCC faculty members; Patrick Navin of the Fine Arts Division and Avis Adams of the English Division.
Benefits for Students
A study abroad experience for students is highly desirable as part of their development and education. Students develop a broader perspective, learn to appreciate cultural diversity, and are enriched by this opportunity to live and study in another country. Typically students return with increased confidence and maturity and full of exuberance and excitement about their studies and experiences abroad.
Benefits for Faculty
Teaching abroad is a vastly positive professional development opportunity for faculty, who return from the experience more energized, and also more knowledgeable. Developing increased cultural sensitivity is also helpful in working with the international student population at GRCC. Over the years, many Green River faculty have had the opportunity to teach in WCCCSA and other Study Abroad programs.