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Elizabethtown Community and Technical College has surpassed the rest of the state’s community college system with its number of students studying abroad.
Interest in the study abroad program at ECTC is growing, and eight students will be traveling to various countries this summer. Last year, three students traveled abroad through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, a consortium for traveling.
Faculty member Jim Murley has worked to increase the number of students interested in the program.
“I’m pleased as I can be,” Murley said of the increase in the number of participants. Murley said he was set to begin recruiting students for 2014 trips next year.
Traveling through the program is cheaper than many university programs, and several local students are participating because of scholarships from the Central Kentucky Community Foundation as well as other sources. Five of the students received $1,000 in scholarships and one student received $1,500.
Most of the students didn’t realize study abroad was an option for community college students. For Morgan Lindsey of Munfordville, her trip to Paris in the summer will be her first time on an airplane.
“This is crazy for me,” she said. “I’m super nervous but I’m ready to go.”
Kelly Levay is a non-traditional student studying for a nursing degree at ECTC. Her trip to Mexico aligns with her goal when she enrolled at the college.
“I decided if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do everything I ever wanted to do,” Levay said.
Levay would like to work in international relief and feels the experience of traveling abroad will help her in her future career.
On the other hand, student Jessica Wash hopes the trip will help her find a future career.
“I don’t have a major yet, so I’m hoping this will give me a concrete direction,” Wash said. She will be studying in Greece.
Aaron Pennington’s trip to Austria will allow him to see several other countries and meet with friends he has in Europe. Pennington said keeping costs low through college is important to him, and he knew this was an opportunity to travel cheaply.
“The price is outstanding,” Pennington said.
Murley said he has to show students the opportunity really exists for them.
“You just have to convince them that they can,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.