Study overseas is a time-honoured way of extending life experiences as part of university education, and has more than quadrupled in the last ten years, with more than 38,000 Australian students participating each year.
There is also some evidence that studying abroad helps an Australian university graduate obtain employment. The most popular countries where Australian unie students go: United Kingdom (18%), the United States (18%), Canada (9%), Germany (6%), France (5%) and Japan (5%).
The “study abroad” experience is also rite of passage in the USA, but has been mostly limited to students at traditional four-year institutions – US community college constitute only 3% of American students studying outside the USA.
That has begun to change, with a notable initiative of the French Embassy in the US: “Community College Abroad in France”, in partnership with Community Colleges for International Development and French engineering schools, began in June with a 10-day, non-degree-granting summer “boot camp”. The concept has captured the imagination of many, including Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, who noted that Study Abroad participants are “still mostly white, well off”.
“The question facing us in Australia is why not here?” asked Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia (CCA). “Last year, 378,900 students, 9% of all VET students, enrolled in accredited Australian community education courses. Why don’t they have the opportunity afforded university students to extend their life boundaries and ideas by studying abroad?”
“CCA has commenced developing a new structure that will provide scholarships to Australian community education students. We want them to be able to ‘live the dream’ of international study that has traditionally been limited only to university students,” said Dr Perlgut.
CCA welcomes anyone with an interest in assisting us to develop an international program for Australian community education students to contact us.