January 31, 2023

Studying green across the ocean blue

By Thanh-Thanh Nguyen

NCC students interested in environmental sustainability might want to consider getting greener with the Community College in France (CCF) program.

The Statue of the Virgin Mary gazes over Lyon, France. Photos by Thanh-Thanh Nguyen

The French Embassy is offering community college students across the United States, including NCC students, the opportunity to take part in the following bootcamps: Sustainable City Campuses in Nancy and Metz, Nature: Tamed & Wild in Lyon, Sustainable Business in Rennes and Sustainable Management of Marine Ecosystems in La Ciotat.

Each bootcamp focuses on a different aspect of sustainability based on the location of the program. Over the course of two weeks, participants will spend time in classes learning about climate change and humans’ impact on the environment, as well as seeing how France, a world leader in sustainability, addresses these concerns in the real world.

“I learned that sustainability in a city is very possible. You just need people who are willing,” said NCC student and 2022 CCF participant Jiovan Santiago. “My knowledge in Urban Sustainability is something I’ve applied already in my semester and I’m so grateful to have some extensive knowledge on it.”

To participate in the programs, students must be at least 18-years-old and enrolled in community college for the 2022-2023 academic year. No prior knowledge of French is needed, all programs are entirely in English, and survival French courses will be provided by select bootcamps.

Each program costs $2,400, which covers program fees, housing, meals, local transport, and airport pick-up and drop-off. Airfare is not included.

The price might seem steep, but the French Embassy offers a $1,400 scholarship to most students. According to frenchhighereducation.org, of the 51 participants in their 2022 program, 67% were awarded a scholarship.

Still worried about the cost? NCC also offers scholarships to help students study abroad. Santiago received a $2,200 scholarship from NCC which paid for the remaining program fee and his airfare to Lyon, France.

Students studying abroad can enjoy seeing works of art, such as this fountain in Lyon.

“Northampton has a scholarship office and foundation that are specifically dedicated to helping NCC students get abroad,” said Nathan Carpenter, NCC Global Studies professor and former director of Global Education and International Services. “There have been important national studies that have shown that participation in these types of programs are really beneficial for students.”

Carpenter said that students who take the opportunity to study abroad are more likely to continue their education. A fiveyear cohort study conducted by NCC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness showed that students who participated in NCC study abroad programs were more likely to graduate and continue their academic studies than those who didn’t.

Carpenter speculates this is because the foresight and work needed to prepare to study abroad allows students to see their capabilities in preparing for the future.

Santiago supports this sentiment. “It was the most important thing for me to experience,” Santiago said. “When I got home, I completely destroyed my comfort zone. With the potential I saw and the trust I gained with myself; I built a new one that has a trajectory to something greater than I ever could have imagined prior to the trip.”

Applications for the program must be submitted by the end of January. Students interested in participating in one of the bootcamps or learning more can visit frenchhighereducation.org.

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