What is Study Abroad?

Studying abroad is the unique opportunity students have to take college courses in foreign countries outside of their home university. At Mt. Sac, these programs can last anywhere from four weeks up to an entire three month semester. We offer specialized faculty led study abroad programming. This means that faculty are hand picked from various Southern California community colleges and travel with their students to whatever destination has been selected. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity that allows for students to become more independent, globally conscious, and professionally prepared. 

What to Expect:

It is required to complete a minimum of 12 academic units if enrolled in a three month semester program and a minimum of 3 units for the four week program. Students are housed in either communal apartments or in homestays (which are with a local family from the host country). Finally, students are able to either fly together in a group through our travel partnership with AIFS or fly independently and create their own itinerary. Airline tickets, housing, and program costs vary depending on location, time of year, and duration of the program. Read further ahead to learn more.   

Who We Are: Citrus, AIFS, So Cal Consortium

Study abroad is a collaborative effort that requires many different partners to make these educational programs possible. Mt. Sac is a proud member of the Southern California Foothills Consortium (SCFC), a cooperative venture among 12 different community college districts. That means students from any of the 12 participating schools are eligible to enroll in our faculty-led programs throughout the school year. Leading the SCFC is our neighbor Citrus College, who you will become a temporary student of if you register for a semester abroad. 

Although Citrus College and the SCFC take care of the entire preparation process, our study abroad partners at the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS) support students once they land in their new host country. This includes securing housing, organizing cultural enrichment events, advising on outside travel, etc. To learn more about AIFS, our trusted travel partners of over two decades, please click HERE.  


 Benefits of Travel:

Studying abroad has an incredible array of benefits for students who choose to embark on this journey.


  • For many individuals at Mt. Sac, studying abroad represents the first time a student is leaving the country, obtaining a passport, and/or living independently from family. This time outside of their comfort zone encourages students to become more self-reliant and internally motivated. 
  • Students are transported to a new setting that facilitates deep cultural immersion. Through interactive experiences such as visiting historic landmarks, bartering with shop owners, or even ordering food off of a menu, students expand their critical thinking abilities in exciting ways life in the United States cannot offer. 
  • During their time overseas, students learn how to adapt to change and work collectively. By the time they return, students feel more confident identifying their needs and passions. Next steps like graduating, applying for transfer, or selecting a future career become tangible goals they better understand how to tackle.


  • Students can travel and receive college credit at the same time. Taking a semester to study abroad can easily be worked into a Mountie Academic Plan (MAP) with the support of a counselor. Rather than take that same course on campus, students often perform better at their host campus because they are fully engaged and present in their experience.
  • Students benefit from smaller class sizes, more hands on learning, and less competitive course registration when studying abroad. Faculty also make it a point to incorporate the foreign location into their syllabi through curated readings, field trips, and group assignments. Because of this, students receive very intentional instruction and experiential learning (learning by doing). The ultimate goal of studying abroad is melting the divide between city and classroom.
  • Less than 2% of community college students in the United States enroll in study abroad programs. Joining this privileged and elite group of go-getters makes students a more competitive applicant when it is time to apply for transfer. The many skills they uniquely cultivate abroad help them stand out and even earn them additional points (depending on the ranking system of the school in question) to admissions officers fielding thousands of qualified applications.   


  • Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity for students who may be undecided about their life path. By having this time to explore, experience, and execute, students become more decisive and laser focused on their interests. Many students come back with a different plan entirely for the future, feeling inspired and reinvigorated from their travels.
  • Depending on the host location, students are given the opportunity to increase their fluency in a foreign language outside of English. This practice is constantly happening both inside and outside of the classroom. Becoming multilingual is a real professional asset and can result in better job prospects, higher pay, and flexible work locations.  
  • Through technology and commerce, our world is becoming increasingly interconnected and globalized. Students who complete this trip will be able to boast of international experience on their resume and show that they are culturally conscious and able to work with diverse groups of people. If students want to pursue graduate school or a future career in that specific country, then studying abroad serves as an ideal stepping stone.

Get Inspired!

Still need more encouragement? Watch our student video below and discover for yourself how a semester abroad will change your life. 
Below are locations SCFC has traveled to in the past: