Frequently Asked Questions

Study Abroad

How long is the program and what is the class schedule?

Short-term study abroad programs range from 2 ½ to 4 weeks in length. Instruction takes place several hours per day and includes visits to sites of historic and cultural interest which complement classroom learning. For example, participants on past programs visited the Roman site of Pompeii, (Italy) and early megaliths on Malta; fashion houses in Milan, (Italy); the burial place of Spanish royalty at El Escorial in Spain; and the ruins of Teotihuacan outside Mexico City.

What classes are taught abroad?

Faculty who are interested in teaching their area of expertise abroad submit a program proposal for evaluation by a group of their peers. As a result, subjects taught on these programs can vary greatly. Classes are usually taught in English. The exception would be for an intensive language program when the classes would be taught in the host country language. Classes are held in classrooms that are used exclusively for our groups of students, sometimes at institutions that enroll other international or local students. Examples of classroom facilities used in past programs include universities, language schools, and hotel meeting rooms. Imagine studying fashion design in Italy and France, Spanish language in Spain or Mexico, or history of the ancient world in Italy and Malta, Filipino studies in the Philippines! There is no better way to make your learning experience more meaningful and to make your studies come alive than to participate in these programs! Field trips, excursions, and visits to sites of cultural and historical interest are also components of the program and will complement/supplement your classroom work. Classes taught abroad meet general education requirements and are transferable to CSU and/or UC. To be informed of upcoming short-term programs, consult with your Campus International Education Coordinator, look at the International Education advertisement of the schedule of classes every term, and/or access your college website.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligibility requirements to participate in study abroad programs include being 18 years of age or older by the date of departure, completing of 12 college-level units with a GPA of 2.0 or higher, being in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress, and a student conduct review. Program space is limited and spaces will be allotted on a first-come first-serve basis. If you don't meet minimum qualifications, speak with the International Education / Study Abroad Coordinator on your campus.

Where will I live?

Housing options vary depending on the site abroad. One housing option is family homestays, in private or shared rooms, with two – three meals per day provided by the family. Living with a local family is probably the best way to familiarize yourself with the culture, make longstanding friends, and to improve your foreign language proficiency. Another housing option is student dormitories. This opportunity may enable you to meet students from the host country or other countries and to experience dorm life – a novelty for most community college students. Hotels have also been used to house program participants.

How much does it cost?

Costs for participating in study abroad programs are higher than studying on your home campus. The additional expense goes towards such items as purchase of round-trip airline tickets, ground transportation, room and board, field trips and excursions, insurance, and on-site staff assistance. As a result, program costs have varied from the low $2,000 range into the $3,000 range. Registration fees, books and supplies, personal expenses, airfare and airport taxes, and passport fee (if applicable), are not included in the program price.

How can I pay for studying abroad?

Financial aid may be used to pay program expenses when received for the entire year and “banked” for use during the summer. No financial aid is available specifically for short-term programs which do not take place during the fall and spring semesters.

Financial Resources to Study Abroad

See Financial Aid & Scholarships

Is it safe to study abroad?

Your safety and security are of primary importance to the San Diego Community College District. The District will make every effort to assure that you are safe while abroad. Of course part of the responsibility lies with you; if you are told not to go to certain locations at certain times of day, if you are warned to refrain from visiting specific places, if you are told not to participate in host country political demonstrations, and about the severity of host country laws related to certain behaviors, we must rely on your good sense to follow the warnings and directives given to you. At the same time, the District monitors U.S. State Department travel warnings, has prepared own emergency response plan, and on contracts with logistical support providers who have a well developed emergency response plan. If a situation arises in the host country that would put your safety or security in jeopardy, we will cancel a program and/or arrange for your transportation back to the U.S. In addition, study abroad program costs include medical insurance. After you review the provided medical insurance, you can decide if you wish to supplement it with additional coverage and/or with trip cancellation, baggage insurance, etc. If you have more questions about safety and security regarding study abroad, please go to

How do I enroll in a study abroad program?

I. The first thing to do is to meet with the International Education / Study Abroad Coordinator at the college that is sponsoring the program you would like to participate in: Prof. Dora Schoenbrun Fernandez, San Diego Mesa College, Room G-237, Tel: 619-388-2228, E-mail: or Prof. Uriel Ornelas, San Diego Mesa College, Room: G-217; Tel: 619-388-2357, E-mail: The Campus Coordinator will give you a program brochure including enrollment form if you do not already have one, and will discuss the details of the program with you. S/he will also confirm that your GPA is at least 2.0 and that you will have completed at least 12 units. II. Submit the Student Conduct Release Form to the Dean of Student Affairs on your home campus. The Campus Coordinator will provide you with this form. The Dean will complete the form and then forward it to the Coordinator. If the Dean has noted something on this form, you will receive additional counseling III. Meet with your counselor to discuss the class(es) you plan to take and how it/they fit into your educational plan. IV. Meet with the financial aid technician if you would like to know if you have any unused financial aid monies that you could apply to the study abroad program. V. Submit your enrollment form and deposit after you have determined that the academic program meets your needs, you will be able to finance the opportunity, and you are committed to participating in the program. The Coordinator will assist you with this stage of the process. VI. Review the SDCCD Student Conduct Code provided by your Campus Coordinator and sign the accompanying agreement. VII. Stay in touch with the Campus Coordinator to be apprised of upcoming events such as information meetings, pre-departure orientations, additional documents to complete, etc.