Photo courtesy MiraCosta College.

Creating global citizens. That’s the focus of a new certificate of achievement program in global studies at MiraCosta College that can be completed in as little as one year.

The program is geared for students interested in transferring to four-year degree programs related to international and global fields through a curriculum focusing on the social, economic and political systems in countries around the world.

The new program provides students with the skills needed to flourish in the local economy; a survey of businesses in northern San Diego County showed that 90 percent have an international clientele or workforce, and two-thirds of employers said they would be more likely to hire an employee with a certificate in global studies.

“Employers in the 21st century workplace more and more are relying on people who understand global issues and global cultures,” said Jonathan Fohrman, who serves as dean at the MiraCosta College School of Arts & International Languages. “In today’s economy, business and commerce are so interconnected on an international level, you really need to have the skills necessary to succeed while working in diverse environments.”

A 2017 study conducted by MiraCosta’s Office of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness found that 87 percent of students surveyed were at least somewhat interested in working in another country, 95 percent of students were at least somewhat interested in securing an internship in another country, and 97 percent of students were at least somewhat interested in service learning in another country.

What’s more, an American Council on Education Blue Ribbon Panel noted: “Active engagement with the rest of the world has become fundamental to a high quality education, one that prepares students and their communities for the larger world in which they will live and work.”

Coursework is interdisciplinary and covers a wide range of classes that range from business and the sciences to history, language and the arts. Required courses include Cultural Anthropology, International Business, World Literature, History of the Modern Middle East, Cultural Aspects of Foods and Nutrition, World Religions, and Introduction to International Relations. Other classes range from Introduction to Chinese Culture to Intermediate Italian and Beginning Japanese.

The program is part of an ongoing MiraCosta College effort aimed at appreciating and understanding world cultures. Other elements of that effort include a small but growing number of students taking part in a study abroad program, a program that includes an upcoming spring semester in Seville, Spain; the longstanding Institute for International Perspectives that recruits international students to study at MiraCosta College; an International Film Series co-sponsored by the college’s International Languages and Film departments; and an array of campus cultural events.

“The new certificate is part of a wide range of things that we’re looking at to create better global citizens,” said Fohrman.

–MiraCosta College