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International Studies

Looking for adventure while continuing your education? Well, we have a deal for you! Rend Lake College offers courses abroad in locations as diverse as England, Costa Rica, Austria, and Jamaica.

Contact Information

Rebecca L. Biggs
English Professor
Office: North Oasis 147
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 618-437-5321 Ext: 1707
Fax: 618-437-5677

Eligibility for the Semester Abroad Program

Spending a semester abroad is a very serious academic undertaking. For this reason, we ask that all students participating in the Costa Rica, England, or Austria program meet these criteria:

• The completion of 12 credit hours of college work
• A 2.75 grade point average on a 4.0 scale

If you are a senior citizen who has not previously attended college, please contact Rebecca Biggs to discuss other eligibility criterion.

How to Obtain a Passport

Obtain a passport application from your local Circuit Clerk's Office.

Type or print answers to items 1 through 20.

The completed application is taken to the Circuit Clerk's Office. This office is typically located in your local town hall. Large post offices, such as the one in Mt. Vernon, may also offer this service.

Do not sign in box 21 until you are asked to do so at the Circuit Clerk's Office.

Bring two passport photos with you. These photos must be taken professionally at a US approved location.

Bring either your original birth certificate or a certified copy of your birth certificate. This item will be mailed to the federal passport office, but returned with your passport.

You will need two checks, money orders etc. One goes with the passport application ($55, written to the Department of State). The other one goes to the office that takes your passport application ($30 written to that office). Your passport will be valid for ten years. Although some people receive their passports in just a few weeks, it can routinely take as long as 10 weeks to receive this document (the RLC record is 15 weeks!). Do not put this step off. You cannot go without a passport.


The RLC Foundation Scholarship
The RLC Foundation understands the importance of international experience in our modern world. For this reason, the Foundation has made several $500 scholarships available to students wishing to pursue international experiences thorough Rend Lake College programs. Scholarship availability, as well as application deadlines, vary from semester to semester. Check with Rebecca Biggs, [email protected], for current information.

The Gilman Scholarship
The Gilman Foundation offers generous scholarships for semester abroad programs to undergraduate students who receive Pell Grants. Detailed information can be found on their website: This scholarship is based on national competition, so please be certain to follow their directions very carefully.

ICISP Scholarships
Each year ICISP offers two $500 scholarships to students spending a semester aborad. Contact Rebecca Biggs, [email protected], for more information. Download scholarship information here.

ISA Diversity Scholarship
ISA will award $10,000 annually in Diversity Scholarships, starting with Fall 2008 sessions. The goal of these scholarships is to facilitate the participation of students who are underrepresented in study abroad by providing financial assistance, thereby broadening the spectrum of ISA participants. ISA encourages students from diverse cultural backgrounds, underrepresented educational disciplines, and students interested in non-traditional study abroad destinations to apply.

The ISA Diversity Scholarship is open to those students who wish to bring a broader cultural perspective to their overseas group, as well as those who are dedicated to encouraging other multicultural students on their home campus to participate in international education programs.

Scholarships are available for participants in ISA semester and summer programs. For detailed eligibility requirements, deadlines, and to download an application, please visit the ISA website at

Other Ideas for Raising Money
• Begin a routine savings account from your paycheck. A small amount of money invested each week can accumulate very quickly. 
• Often family members are happy to have Christmas or birthday presents be a contribution toward an educational experience rather than purchasing a gift. 
• Change a health habit (smoking, buying soda etc.) and put that money toward your trip. 
• Consider what it would cost to live in southern Illinois for the amount of time you would be aborad. Your typical expenses for gas, car insurance, meals, rent, etc. in southern Illinois will not be necessary while you are abroad. Also bear in mind that a semester at a residential university (such as SIU) would cost about $6,500.

San Jose, Costa Rica

In 2016, community members can visit Tropical Costa Rica on a nine-day trip starting in the colorful capital city of San Jose. This trip highlights San Jose, a coffee plantation, the northern city of Guanacaste, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range, the Arenal Hanging Bridges, the Arenal Volcano, a cruise of Lake Arenal, a local cooking demonstration, the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, the city of Zarcero, and the National Theatre in San Jose. The lush forests, stunning waterfalls, exotic wildlife, and endless coastlines make Costa Rica a slice of paradise.

The Tropical Costa Rica trip costs $3,249 per person or $2,699 for double occupancy, which includes an eight-night stay and 14 meals.

For more information on Collette Vacations, contact the Community and Corporate Education Department at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1714, or [email protected].
Press Release

Sydney, Australia

Summer Study Abroad Program. For information contact Rebecca Biggs, [email protected]

Salzburg, Austria

Offered each Spring and Fall Semester

Salzburg College

Salzburg is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. With a population of about 140,000, it is situated on the northern edge of the eastern Alps and close to the German border. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains and is near the famous lake district. The city itself mirrors a thousand years of European history and culture. Its rich musical heritage is reflected in a great variety of concerts and other musical events throughout the year. There are several theaters that show plays, musicals, and opera from September through June, as well as the world-famous Mozart festivals in January, at Easter, and in the summer.

A place of rare natural and artistic beauty, Salzburg is a center for tourism. It also plays a significant role in international trade. Situated in the heart of Europe, the city has gained further significance since the opening of Eastern Europe. As a traditional border town and major crossroad, Salzburg has established itself as a center of import and export, banking, and international transport business. All these qualities make this location ideal for the study of international business and communication.

Last but not least, Salzburg is ideally located for travel. It is less than four hours by train to Vienna, two hours to Munich, and an over-night train ride to Paris, Venice, Rome, or Amsterdam.

The College
History: Salzburg College was founded in 1962. The Illinois/Salzburg cooperative program began in 1970, and the college has hosted groups of Illinois students every semester since that date.

Program: Philosophy Regarding Foreign Language: There are two basic sets of conviction regarding foreign language in a study-abroad environment. One group maintains that students should have studied a language before they depart and should function in the foreign language once abroad. The other group is aware that in the context of the American educational system, a language requirement would bar many students from participation in international programs. The Illinois/Salzburg program utilizes the later approach. All Illinois students are required to study German while in Salzburg, but all their other courses will be taught in English.

Meals and Accommodations: By living with Austrian families, students will become part of their host society in a very natural manner. Meals provided by the host family include breakfast and evening meals on weekdays, and all meals on weekends. (No meals will be provided during the mid-semester break or optional Vienna field-trip dates.) Students will either walk or take the city bus to go to school.

Academic Programs for Illinois Students: All Illinois students are expected to study German while in Salzburg. Other courses will be offered in English. As part of your course work, field trips to Germany and other parts of Austria will be offered. An optional trip to Vienna is also available. The Salzburg College Study Center features classrooms, offices, and extensive library, lounge & dining rooms, music practice spaces, a photo lab, an art studio, and a fabulous view of the city.

For cost information contact Rebecca Biggs [email protected]

How to Apply
Contact Rebecca Biggs for an application
Complete a pre-acceptance interview at RLC
Submit the completed, original application to ICISP, and a complete duplicate to RLC
Obtain a passport
Register for classes at RLC during the normal registration period for the semester. You will not be allowed to register late for these classes.\

Canterbury, England

Offered each Spring and Fall Semester
Christ Church University College (CCUC)

Canterbury has all the charm of one of England’s oldest and most historic cities. Still surrounded in many places by medieval walls, it is rich in historical buildings and associations with the past. The visitor is constantly reminded that here is the cradle of Christianity and that from Roman times to the present day, travelers to and from the continent of Europe have passed through it.

The city has long been an important business and shopping center. More recently it has become very much a student city with unusually good academic and social opportunities. It is also recognized for its wide range of cultural activities in all branches of the arts and its numerous festivals. There are also many cinemas, museums, libraries, galleries, and bookshops.Canterbury is situated in the county of Kent, which has been described as the “ garden of England.” The city, set in this attractive countryside, is only 60 miles from London, just over an hour’s journey by road or train. France is only 40 miles away and can be reached by frequent ferry and hovercraft services. Canterbury is also well situated for access to London’s two main international airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.

The College
History: Canterbury Christ Church College opened its doors in 1962 as part of the English Higher Education System. It takes its name form Canterbury’s famous Cathedral of Christ Church, just a few blocks away. Though begun initially as a teachers training institution, the College has offered variety of degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level for many years. In October, 1998, the College added “University” to its name by permission of Privy Council, a position which is considered an extremely high honor in the United Kingdom. The student body, numbering about 11,500, draws men and women from all over England.

Meals and Accommodations: Illinois students will be staying in the homes of local residents who rent rooms in their houses to the college. Breakfast is served in individual lodgings, and dinner and lunch are available for purchase seven days a week in the college refectory. Students live in houses within walking distance of the College.

Other Facilities: The CCUC library includes study areas, a collection of about 200,000 volumes, and subscriptions to many periodicals. Other libraries in Canterbury are the City Library, the Cathedral Library, and the Library of the University of Kent. For medical needs, the college is equipped with a medical center staffed by a nurse, with a physician available as needed. Counseling services are also provided.

Academic Programs for Illinois Students: Rend Lake College students register at RLC for four three-hour credit classes from the list provided below.

1.) Modern Britain
2.) Either British History or British Literature
3.) Two or more electives from this list:
Drawing I
Introduction to Shakespeare
American Literature from 1865
Principles of Marketing
World Religions
Social Psychology
Both the special and regular courses will include papers as are expected of British students. There are occasionally large lectures (100-150 students) but generally classes are small. Most classes have a combination of lecture, small-group discussion, and tutorial methods used by the instructors. Several cultural visits will be made to locations such as London, Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford Upon Avon, and Hever Castle.


Contact Rebecca Biggs [email protected] for cost information.

How to Apply 

Contact Rebecca Biggs for an application
Complete a pre-acceptance interview at RLC
Submit the completed, original application to ICISP, and a complete duplicate to RLC
Obtain a passport
Register for classes at RLC during the normal registration period for the semester.
You will not be allowed to register late for these classes.

Carlow , Ireland

Explore the Emerald Isle! 

In partnership with Carlow College and Kishwaukee College, the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP) offers a 15 to 17-week program in Carlow, Ireland. This program offers students an exciting and affordable introduction to Ireland while studying in the quintessential Irish country town of Carlow. Located 90 minutes southwest of Dublin and just east of the Wicklow Mountains, Carlow, or "Carlow-Town" as it is referred to, is a wonderful study abroad location for students interested in learning in the lush green landscape of the Emerald Isle. Participating students will also have the opportunity to participate in field trips to places like Dublin, Kilkenney Castle, Duckett's Grove, Dunhill Caves, and more

Program Description 
Carlow College, founded in 1973, is one of Ireland's oldest educational institutions. This small college of approximately 800 students provides students with small classes and allows them to engage with student-centered faculty. The program offers both a strong academic component and extensive cultural immersion as well.

An ICISP faculty will also be on-site to assist with personal or academic issues. This faculty member will be available to ICISP student participants throughout the entire semester of study abroad.

Program Credits 
The student will receive 12-15 transferable college credits in the semester programs.
Required class: The Irish Experience (3)
This required class is structured of American students and provides a safe environment in which the students can learn about Ireland.
The students will then choose two to three additional courses from an approved selection of classes primarily composed of humanities and social science courses.

Program Requirements 
This program is open to serious students, teachers, and individuals who have a strong interest in immersing themselves in Irish culture and history.
All students are required to register for credit and participate in all classroom and program activities. All students will be required to have: 
2.75 or higher GPA, based on 12 or more credits of college study
Two faculty recommendations
English Composition I completed with a grade of C or better
Physician's approval to travel

Applicants will need to contact the program coordinator for more information.

Pre-Trip Orientation
The required pre-trip orientation will be held at Kishwaukee College prior to departure. Students should contact their ICISP representative further information on exact dates.

Program Fee
Tuition at home institution Scholarships for this program are available through ICISP. Please contact your local ICISP representative for additional information and an application form.

All participants will need to have or acquire a current passport before the date of departure (applicants should allow 8) weeks for standard passport processing). A visa may be necessary and will be purchased once you are in Carlow

Lodging and Meals
Students will live in furnished student apartments accommodating 3-6 students each. These apartments have fully-fitted kitchens and a living room area. Although meals are not included in the program cost, a nice selection of grocery stores and restaurants are located nearby. Students will be a short walk from both town and campus.

Application Deadline: 
Fall Study Program - May 
Spring Study Program - October 

Visiting Faculty
The visiting faculty will be required to oversee and provide leadership for the ICISP program and student service needs of Illinois students in Carlow. Please contact your local ICISP representative for further details and for an application.

Additional Information
For additional information on this program, please contact Rebecca Biggs at [email protected] .