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Tips For Mesa Community College Students + An ILP Semester Abroad

Posted by Emily Henkel on 9/19/21 7:45 AM

ILP Thailand

If you are an MCC student who is wondering how to make an ILP semester work out, this is for you — everything you are wondering about is right here! 

For me, going on an ILP semester when I was in school was perfect. I knew I wanted to do some traveling, make a difference somehow (not just go on a spring break trip), and do this all pretty affordably ... I was in school, after all! I wasn't looking for a study abroad but still wanted to do a lot of traveling while still in college. 

Fitting in a few months of traveling abroad seemed to fit the rest of my plans and helped me figure out what was coming next. It worked out so well, I ended up going on another semester abroad after graduating. 

If you are wondering about traveling, volunteering, and exploring somewhere in Europe, Asia, the South Pacific or another one of the ILP’s countries while at MCC, you’re absolutely in the right place. 

Wait, you’re not an ILP volunteer yet? 
Here’s how to apply

ILP’s a non-profit organization who sends college-aged students (like you) abroad to teach English to kids or volunteer in an orphanage program. Not only are you able to give meaningful service and make an impact on the kids, but so many volunteers say they felt like the experience made the biggest impact on their own life. It also looks super great on resumes, plus you’ll get the chance to travel around and make a difference. On your semester, housing is covered, along with your flight, your meals, and a few other perks, like your visa. Sounds pretty perfect, right?

ILP doesn't work specifically with a certain university, but quite a few of our volunteers do come from Arizona, and are students at Mesa Community College. We’re Utah-based, and have a code of conduct similar to the one you’ll find at Brigham Young University (if you're familiar with that), and focus on a service aspect, as well as a travel aspect in each of our programs. 

Interested in learning more? Here are some tips to making an ILP semester with your MCC semester work: 

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I'm In School, When's The Best Time To Go?

ILP has programs that run year-round: we have a fall semester, a spring semester, and a summer semester. Depending on when you want to go, here's how that would align with your school schedule at MCC. 

Go During The Summer 

For Mesa Community College students, if you’re not taking classes in the summer semester, maybe a summer trip with ILP would work best for you.

Typically the MCC Summer Semester starts at the end of May, and finishes up in the end of June. With that schedule, all ILP countries work — generally, all ILP countries leave sometime in May. Some are more early to mid May, while others are mid to late May. *There sometimes are countries that leave mid April and come home a smidge earlier in August.

You can take a look at all the general departure ranges for each ILP country here (just keep an eye out for any that have tentative departures in April). 

If you don’t want to go during a summer semester, and have your sights on a Fall or Spring program, you have a couple of options! 

Go Fall/Spring — Deferring A Semester 

Going during an ILP Fall semester! Fall semesters typically leave mid to late August (or early - mid September), and come home the end of November or mid-December.  Other groups sometimes leave end of Setember/mid-October, but all semesters are home in time for Christmas which works great as a sub for a MCC semester. 

Or come during the spring! An ILP Spring semester usually leaves sometime in January. We have early/mid/late departures in January, typically ... sometimes there is an early February departure, that gets you home a smidge later. Generally, Spring volunteers are home mid April to late May. 

*Some countries, like Thailand, send two groups during Fall and Spring, so there's an early group and a later group, which can help give you some wiggle room in the same semester since there are two groups.  

In any case, you would just need to take the semester you'll be abroad with us, off. Then, just re-enroll in classes once you return. (Example: Take classes for the Fall semester, go on your ILP semester in the Spring, and re-enroll in classes for Summer semester if you're home in time, or in the Fall again). 

You can clear this with your academic advisor, but it's rather straightforward: You can either defer a semester (by not re-enrolling)  or could take online classes during your ILP semester to make this work. More on online classes below. 

Go Anytime — Take Online Classes 

You also have the option of taking online classes while volunteering with ILP. You’ll only be teaching English or volunteering in an orphanage program for 15-20 hours a week, so there is time to take an online class if you’d like. That way you can get college credit during the fall or winter semester without "missing" school.

We’ve had multiple volunteers go that route. It makes for a very busy semester and we really don’t recommend taking a full load on MCC Online (because you don’t want to miss out on weekend trips to cool beaches, a bomb safari, or cathedrals because you have too much homework) but it’s helped make it work for fall and spring semester volunteers. 

If that's the best option for you, talk with your ILP rep about country options that would be the best fit for you. 

ILP Mexico

Can I Get Credit? 

Maybe. It’s an answer that doesn’t have a straight set of rules, but it is possible to maybe get MCC school credit of MCC internship credit. 

Since ILP doesn’t work with a set university, it’s up to your college (MCC) to determine if they’ll give you credit while you volunteer with us. Since there isn't an exact science on how to do this you'll need to talk with your adviser to see how things work with your degree or if a semester with ILP counts as internship credit at MCC. You'll work out your credits through the school, not through the ILP office but we’re happy to help where we can. If you’re required to provide some paperwork about your ILP semester and what you’ll be doing, give our office a call and we can help you out. 

Things really are pretty individual and do depend on a case-by-case basis when it comes to getting MCC school credit or MCC internship credit. Start by speaking with your counselor and see where you can go from there. You may need to do a little digging to see who you need to speak with at your department. This MCC internship site may give you a good starting point. 

ILP Adventure in Nicaragua

Where Can I Learn More? 

If you still have a few questions about ILP, you can get them all answered. That post talks about who can apply, the costs associated with our programs, and how vacations all work out. I’d suggest reading that post real quick, then figuring out when you can attend a meeting or talk to someone who’s already volunteered with us. 

Extra Perks For MCC Students

Student Discounts 

One of the biggest perks of having your MCC ID is all of the student discounts. I used my ID card to get some gear for my ILP semester at places like Nike, Eddie Bauer, Target, and others which saved me some money. I also took advantage of the student deals for Spotify, Amazon Prime, and a couple of others. These discounts aren't exclusive to just MCC students, but it's nice to know they're out there.

This post has a list of some tech-perks for students, while this site has a more inclusive list of companies that offer a student discount. This post has even more ideas. 

Financial Aid

Headed to MCC but wondering how to pay for it all? You already have plenty to worry about, with all the details regarding admissions, degrees, majors, etc, but money might not be a worry if you can qualify for financial aid. Financial aid can help you pay for your student tuition, buying all your textbooks, or even affording a semester abroad or study abroad. 

You can get more information about MCC Financial Aid here. 

ILP Thailand

Would ILP Be A Good Fit For You? 

We think so! But it depends on a few things. We've worked with thousands of students and quite a few come from MCC. You'll be able to ask all of your questions when you start your application and get in touch with an ILP representative, but if you're someone who is looking to be adventurous, are motivated to explore a new country, dive right into a new group of friends and totally new experiences, it sounds like this is the start of a pretty beautiful friendship. Our organization is set up to help you begin your trip, but then the experiences you have are up to you. 

Every location is really different, but those who have a good experience on our program are excited for what life in a new country is like. I'm talking new food, a new language, a new definition of what's normal for you, and so many stories. This isn't a program where we have everything scheduled out for you. It's kinda half and half, with a set teaching schedule and so much free time and vacations that are completely up to you.


Ready to start your ILP adventure? 

Come get your questions answered by getting in touch with an ILP rep, someone who has volunteered with us before (at least once). They're here to help you figure out what program would be best, how it works with your schedule, info on our different country locations, etc.  Come get in touch! 

 Text Me! I've Got Questions


Topics: All About ILP + Volunteering, Tips For Your Twenties

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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