But community colleges are trying to increase international educational opportunities, and in a 2016 study the American Council on Education found that 31 percent of community colleges provided funding for study abroad, up from 24 percent in 2011.
One Miami Dade student eager to take part in its growing opportunities to go abroad was Naf Luyeye Makabu. Born in the Republic of Congo, Mr. Makabu emigrated to the United States in 2012. After living with relatives for two years, he, his American-born mother and two siblings were forced to leave that home, and spent most of Mr. Makabu’s adolescence in a tiny apartment they could not afford.
When he heard about Educate Tomorrow Abroad, he jumped at the chance. Once accepted for the grant, he chose the same English class as Ms. Prevert.
“It was a great experience to see how other countries function, how things are managed,” Mr. Makabu said. He was impressed, in particular, with the London Underground. “There’s no subway in Miami!” he said with a laugh.
Mr. Makabu, 21, is now at Florida International University, where he hopes to earn his bachelor’s degree in international business. And then?
“I’d love to live in London,” he said.
Neither Ms. Prevert nor Mr. Makabu (both of whose living conditions are now more stable) had traveled since arriving in Miami as children. They adjusted quickly, though, in part because Educate Tomorrow Abroad gives students an orientation before their trips, with details on concerns like applying for passports and dealing with jet lag.
But it also speaks to their life experiences in general.
“Can you imagine the challenges these students have faced?” asked Liza Carbajo, executive director for M.D.C.’s office of international education. “And then to be exposed to this international experience? To me, it’s just wonderful and inspiring.”