The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC Study Abroad hosts Costa Rica, France and Japan expeditions

Claire Geriak
Illustration showing the different places that are traveled to through the SBCC Study Abroad program. Created on Canva on Nov. 27 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The pursuit of higher education has transcended the traditional classroom. The City College summer 2024 study abroad opportunities allow students to seek first-hand immersive experiences in either Costa Rica, France, or Japan.

Students can enroll and study surfing, economics, Spanish grammar, and economic geography in Costa Rica, Introduction to Management and Business of Entertainment in France, and Intercultural Communication and Contemporary World Cinema in Tokyo. All three programs are led by different program directors and have varying costs.

Costa Rica

While a large amount of time is anticipated to be spent wading in the warm Costa Rica current, Manuel Antonio is home to a harmonious geographic landscape where the shoreline meets the lush ecosystems of the rainforest. All of this can be explored on this opportunity abroad.
“[There are] lots of natural sights, volcanoes, waterfalls, all kinds of great field trips, and people will learn a whole lot,” geography professor Geordie Armstrong said. 

Additionally, students are able to explore and learn about the historical significance of Costa Rica as a country. Its rich history follows an exhaustive list of political feuds and the development of cartels within Costa Rica and Central America altogether. 

“We’re gonna look at how this region has been controlled by Empire after Empire and then in an underhanded way with Cold War politics and how that led to cartels,” Armstrong said. “Costa Rica is considered the ‘Switzerland of Central America’. So we’re gonna look at why they got away as well.”

While exploring the dense vibrant jungles, students will also have the opportunity to learn Spanish and immerse themselves in Costa Rican culture while being allowed to receive one-on-one training in specific subjects. 

“We are having a surfing instructor come with us, and they will have instructors that will work individually with each student,” Armstrong said. “You get to understand this place in a way that you never would if you just visited on a surf trip or something.”


City College is offering the courses MGMT101 (Introduction to Management) and BUS 240/FP 24 (Business of Entertainment) to be taken in Paris, France during the duration of the program. Both of these involve exploring the ins and outs of the film industry while in the homeland of cinematography.

“We’re going to the city of Cannes in the south of France, right after the [Cannes] film festival takes place,” said Daniel Spitz, City College professor of business law. We’re visiting the Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay Louvre, Eiffel Tower, [and] we’re visiting the Champagne region for wine tasting at the Palace of Versailles.”

Enriching field trips will be offered as the opportunity to hear guest speakers give advice and provide insight into the French film industry firsthand. 

“We’re bringing in a number of guest speakers who work in the French TV and film industry to speak about their experiences as well.”

Not everyone has the opportunity to study internationally, and experience abroad can truly provide a new perspective and outlook in one’s life. According to Spitz, studying abroad “changed my life.”

“I think students who have a general interest not only in business but in growing their resume, won’t find a better parallel than having an international experience,” Spitz said. “[And] the people that you meet are like-minded individuals with similar career interests.”


In Japan, students are given the chance to study in the realm of cinema. However, the abroad program in Japan also allows students to study intercultural communications and applying 

“Offers students an immersive international experience in the heart of Japan while at the same time introducing them to intercultural communication and world cinema,” said Michael Stinson, professor of film and media studies at City College.

Currently, the Japan program is in the highest demand, and as the deadline to submit a down payment inches closer, spots are becoming increasingly unavailable. Cultural Japanese traditions will be emphasized throughout the program, giving students the chance to truly enjoy the international experience.

“One of the most popular international study offerings at SBCC, the Japan program, is already approaching capacity enrollment,” Stinson said. “Students will be housed in shared accommodation near the city center, which includes both Japanese and Western-style breakfast each morning.”

These programs offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for students to submerge themselves in international waters, literally.

“It [studying abroad] gives you a real opportunity to immerse yourself in a place that you could visit, but as a tourist, you’re not gonna learn the same as what you’ve learned living there for a month,” Armstrong said.

Story continues below advertisement
More to Discover