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greg_malveaux_study_abroad_362x275When Dr. Greg Malveaux was in high school, he travelled with a study abroad group to Africa.  On a flight from Egypt to Zimbabwe, a crew member told the passengers there were some VIPs aboard — one of whom was Nelson Mandela. He had been released from prison just weeks earlier. Malveaux says in the moment he shook Mandela’s hand, he realized there was a world of opportunity beyond his own backyard — and has since travelled to more than 60 countries.

He shares that passion with the Montgomery College community as coordinator of the study abroad program and in his new book Look Before Leaping: A Study Abroad Guide published by Rowman and Littlefield this month.  The book merges court trends and experts’ first-hand accounts and recommends best practices for study abroad in higher education.

At Montgomery College, students have the opportunity to spend a semester or a year abroad or to take shorter trips — typically 10 to 14 days — as part of a course or a service learning project, for example.

Mariam Yaldram, a history major, who travelled with the College earlier this year to Ethiopia, said the trip was an opportunity to see history up close. She said “It is great to learn about different cultures. “Knowing where people come from and what their belief systems are will help you understand current events and why things happen.”

Malveaux agrees. He say says travel abroad changes your perspective about the world around you and yourself — and may even give students an edge when applying to jobs and internships.

Malveaux certainly practices what he preaches. Even with his busy schedulehe also teaches English at the College-and co-chairs the Maryland Community College International Education Consortium — Malveaux is always thinking of his next trip. He isn’t sure where he will go next, but New Zealand and Russia are high on his list.