October 23, 2018

MWCC to offer study abroad program in Peru

Photo/Grant Welker
Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner.

With a $174,970 federal grant, Mount Wachusett Community College plans to launch a study abroad program.

The two-year project, funded at $87,485 per year, will offer one faculty-led short-term study abroad trip each year.

Students will study with professor ahead of time to learn about relevant topics. Then, the students and the same professor will travel in Peru for two weeks.

Most of the travel expenses will be included as part of the class, including flights and transportation, hotels, destinations and excursions and some meals.

According to the college's Dean for the School of Liberal Arts, Education, Humanities and Communications Laurie Occhipinti, the program allows students to directly apply their learning to their travel.

Students will be required to write a paper or prepare another project on their experience Occhipinti said could help students eventually land a job where intercultural understanding is a requirement.

"This kind of programming helps students to be leaders in their chosen fields," she said. "It also helps broaden students' perspectives and experiences in ways that will enrich their personal lives and prepare them to engage in their communities as informed citizens."

The model was chosen to make the experience accessible for as many students as possible, as the travel time is short enough to fit most schedules and obligations.

The program was developed with Brewer Center Director Shelley Errington Nicholson and the college's Associate Dean of Students Greg Clement, who have led a short trip each summer for the last three years.

That group has traveled to Costa Rica and Peru in seven-to-10 day trips.

The first year of the program will focus on planning, including logistical infrastructure, curriculum development, and professional development for faculty. The second year will include a faculty-led study abroad program in Peru.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the total amount of the grant award was $350,000. The total two-year amount is $174,970.

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