Fort Worth

TCC wants to expand opportunities for study abroad programs

Charity Kincannon-Kester learned about World War II and the Holocaust in history books, but a visit to study abroad in Salzburg, Austria, offered a unique look into the past.

“It was eye-opening,” said Kincannon-Kester, a 29-year-old student at Tarrant County College who visited the city in May 2012. In the late 1930s, the city was occupied by Nazis, who persecuted Jewish people and other minorities.

Kincannon-Kester said lessons learned in Salzburg will follow her in life. She said it also showed her the value of studying abroad.

Offering students a more global learning experience is one reason Tarrant County College leaders are working to revive a study program in Salzburg. They are also working to expand to Asia through a partnership with educators from Guiyang in Guizhou Province in China.

A timetable for the implementation of such programs has not been established, officials said.

“What we are trying to do is build global citizenship,” said Sheryl Harris, TCC’s director for program development/international initiatives.

Guiyang is a Sister City to Fort Worth. TCC leaders have been working with educators there to establish study abroad, faculty-exchange programs and distance-learning opportunities.

A three-member delegation from the Guiyang Vocational and Technical College visited TCC last week, touring campuses, meeting with officials and signing a memorandum of understanding that formalizes efforts to exchange educational opportunities.

“It is our pleasure to visit TCC,” Hua-ling Guo told TCC officials during a luncheon. “This time we come here to visit and learn from you.”

The delegation’s tour also included a visit to TCC’s Center for Health Care Professions in downtown Fort Worth. There they saw how health professionals train in a simulated hospital setting where computerized mannequins serve as patients.

Through an interpreter, Guo said it was fascinating. She said her visit to Fort Worth was “very impressive” and she found the people “hospitable.”

TCC officials visited China last year to make educational connections.

Larry Darlage, president of TCC’s Northeast Campus, was part of the TCC delegation to Guiyang last year. He said there is interest in having TCC faculty teach English in Guiyang. There is also interest in having students here learn Chinese, something that is already being done at some local school districts.

“We live in a global society,” Darlage said. “We would like some of our student to have the opportunities to travel abroad and to learn cultures and perhaps establish relationships that are long-lasting.”

Kincannon-Kester said these global learning opportunities also make students stand out when they search for jobs.

“We do so much business everywhere,” Kincannon-Kester said. “If we only know American ways, then we are left out.”