Green River College is part of a consortium of Washington State community colleges (WCCCSA) formed more than 25 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 Germany.
Independent of WCCCSA, Green River developed a Study Abroad program in Australia/New Zealand in the year 2000, now in its 16th 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 Green River Social Science Division faculty member.
Green River also developed a Study Abroad program in Japan. The program was developed in partnership with Kanagawa University in Atsugi, Japan, but later moved to the Tokyo area. Students spend 10 weeks in Hachioji, just minutes from downtown Tokyo. They attend classes at Kogakuin University and live in nearby shared apartments. Led by faculty member 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.
The most recent additions to Green River's study abroad programs are short-term summer programs in the Netherlands and Spain. The Netherlands program is held at the University College Roosevelt in Middleburg. This program began in summer of 2015 and will be offered again during summer of 2016. The Spain summer program will be held at the University of Oviedo. Summer of 2016 will be its pilot program.
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 Green River. Over the years, many Green River faculty have had the opportunity to teach in WCCCSA and other Study Abroad programs.