Study Abroad

Faculty & Course Descriptions 

Study in London is offered by faculty from four participating community college districts. Students will be enrolled in a 3-unit required course, British Life and Culture and three (or four) of the following courses:

  • Jacqueline McGhee - Santa Rosa Junior College

    Random fact: Jacqueline has been an SRJC Study Abroad student—in Rome 2015. Actually, she came to the USA as an exchange student and never left: possibly the ultimate endorsement of Study Abroad (chuckle). 

    Born and raised in England (in the Midlands, near Shakespeare’s birthplace and near the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution) Jacqueline did her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, and then moved to upstate New York to do her Masters’ degree in English at the State University of New York. She followed this with more graduate work at UC Davis, and then a further Masters’ degree in Counseling Psychology at the Institute of Integral Studies. In northern California she fell in love with the landscape and the people, and made it her home. 

    Every year, she spends a couple of months in England, visiting family and friends, and eating cake. She has lived and worked in London, and enjoys pretty much everything about it, from her favorite room at the National Gallery (Room 34--gotta love me some Turner and Constable) to the ravens at the Tower: legend has it that the kingdom will crumble if the ravens leave. The morning after she arrives in London, she likes to take her favorite walk: through Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park to Green Park to St James Park, then down to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and along the River Thames. A quick wave to Will and Kate as she strolls past Kensington Palace and a curtsey to Her Majesty the Queen at the gates of Buckingham Palace. It really is possible to walk around a lot of central London and to be walking in beautiful parks almost all the way, watching the spectacle of Londoners exercising their dogs (dogs = a national love affair). End with a leisurely “full English” breakfast (I recommend the one at the Mad Bishop & Bear at Paddington Station) and you’re ready for a day of sight-seeing. Let’s go!

    ENGL 1B: Literature and Composition »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. Grade only. 

    The prerequisite for this course is a passing grade in English 1A or the equivalent (College Composition).

    London is the perfect place to study English 1B. The literature you read for the course will have as it setting distinct regions of England. Thus, in addition to some of the literature associated intimately with London-- such as Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Zadie Smith, and Keats’ Hampstead--we may dip into Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, the Lake District of the Romantic poets, Jane Austen’s city of Bath, DH Lawrence’s Nottinghamshire, the Brontes’ Yorkshire, Daphne Du Maurier’s Cornwall as well as examining more contemporary works, such as Liz Berry’s Black Country poems, Benjamin Zephaniah’s dub poetry, and Sunjeev Sahota’s contemporary  depiction of Yorkshire.

    ENGL 4A: Beginning Creative Writing »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. Grade or P/NP. There is no prerequisite for this class.

    I see this course as a travel vlog/blog for students to create fiction/creative non-fiction documenting and interpreting their time in England, with a lot of choice and flexibility about the genres chosen. The vlog/blog that you create will be an artefact for you—something for you to keep, reminding you not only of your time in London and England, but also of that younger self, the one who had those adventures and experiences in that magical city. You will have opportunities to write the short stories, flash fiction, poems, songs, plays, novellas that the course typically offers, but you can also choose to interview local people, do travel pieces, restaurant/event/historical & cultural site reviews, and produce creative non-fiction based on what you are seeing around you. We’ll actively workshop creative pieces in the classroom. The workshops will be supportive and non-critical--and students usually find them enjoyable, often forming friendships in them that last well beyond the semester.

    ENGL 5: Advanced Composition and Critical Thinking »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. Grade only.  The prerequisite for this course is a passing grade in English 1A or the equivalent (College Composition).

    Both George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill reputedly called the USA and Great Britain, “two countries divided by a common language.” This kind of interesting contradiction may well be at the forefront of your mind as yet another Brit starts talking about the weather, as you accidentally “queue-jump” when buying teabags at your favorite corner shop, as you ride on the tube and observe the odd eye contact rule, as you try not to look horrified when someone offers you Marmite.

    Since you’re going to be interacting with Brits and the English every day for a few months, this course will offer you the chance to investigate the notions of “Englishness,” “Britishness,” (yup, they’re different) and “USAness.” (I think I made that last on up, but, seriously, why do we not have that noun?). We’ll dig deep into cultural norms (official and unofficial) and your experiences out and about in daily life will form part of the curriculum. You’ll learn not only a lot about English and British culture, but you may come to a new appreciation of what it means to be American.

  • Fran Keller - Los Rios Community College District

    I am an entomologist and evolutionary biologist whose Ph.D. work at the University of California, Davis was on tenebrionid beetles.  I started teaching in the Los Rios CCD in 2010 before accepting a full time position at Folsom Lake College in 2016. My background in teaching covers a broad range of Biology courses, ranging from Anatomy & Physiology, Contemporary Biology, Zoology, Natural History, Entomology, Introduction to Biology and Environmental Biology. I received my B.S. in Evolution and Ecology and my M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology from U.C. Davis. I am the product of the community college system, earning my A.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Sacramento City College before transferring to UCD.  I have organized several symposia and given talks on beetles for the national meeting of the Entomological Society of America.  My photographs of insects and other animals have been included in several biology textbooks.  I have authored a children’s book on the California dogface butterfly through the Bohart Museum of Entomology at U.C. Davis and I remain an active museum scientist at the Bohart Musuem.  In June 2014, I was part of a project that started and established a major entomology collection for the northern part of the Maya Mountains in Belize and worked on an inventory of bat species in this area of Belize.  Since 2015 I have been leading a trip nearly every year to Belize with up to 25 participants to collect insects for the Belize National Insect Collection. In 2019 I was able to travel to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador to see what Charles Darwin saw. 

    I am very excited to bring students out into the field and to experience the natural world outside rather than just in the four walls of a classroom. The opportunities in London to appreciate and see first-hand what we are learning through actual specimens in the London Natural History Museum will be such a unique opportunity. 

    BIOL 300: The Foundations of Biology »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    This course focuses on the core concepts of biology through the lens of the human body and its structure and function. London is an incredible location to learn about human biology, genetics, and medicine for many reasons. In 1953, the structure of DNA was decoded in and around London, heralding the molecular revolution. London is also the birthplace of modern epidemiology. John Snow, whom many consider to be a ‘father’ of epidemiology, figured out how cholera was spreading from a water source in Soho, London. In addition, there are incredible opportunities to visit local natural history museums including those that house some of Charles Darwin’s original specimens from the Voyage of the Beagle. In London, we will have the opportunity to make connections between science and history in a way that will enrich our exploration into the foundations of biology.

    BIOL 301: Evolution »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    Evolution is the most important idea in biology and has been called the “single best idea anyone has ever had.” And you can’t find a location more critical to the development of modern biology and evolution than London. London is the historical center of evolutionary thought, and there are unparalleled opportunities for engaging with unique local resources, such as the London Natural History Museum, a world class museum which houses some of Charles Darwin’s original collections. We will also visit the Down House outside London, which is Darwin’s former residence with its famous ‘Sandwalk’, where we will literally be walking in Darwin’s footsteps. This biology course explores the fascinating world of evolution, looking at the past and to the future, while taking advantage of the unique opportunities that London has to offer.

    BIOL 375: Marine Ecology »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    The ocean covers more than two thirds of the earth’s surface and is one of the most threatened and poorly understood parts of the planet.  In this class, we will explore the relationship between physical and biological processes in the marine environment with an emphasis on human impacts. This class covers important topics in biology, from cells to genetics to ecology, through the lens of the marine system. The River Thames runs through London and ideally locates us to discuss the ecology of this estuary in the context of human development.  In the greater Bay Area in California, we live in proximity to another major estuary, the San Francisco Bay Delta, and we will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the biology and conservation of these two systems.  In addition, the world class collections of the local natural history museums and aquaria will allow us to explore the diverse marine world in person.


  • Lale Yurtseven - San Mateo Community College District

    Lale Yurtseven is a full-time Business Professor at College of San Mateo. She is Turkish and grew up in Germany. Lale is multi-lingual, speaking English, German, and Turkish. She came to the United States as an international student and has first handedly experienced living in a different country as a student.

    Lale earned an M.B.A. in International Management and a B.A. in International Relations from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. After completing her education, she has worked in industries such as telecommunications, music and software before she started her teaching career as an adjunct professor of business at De Anza College. She has been a fulltime Professor of Business at the San Mateo Community College District since 2014. Throughout her teaching career, she established and advised student business clubs and managed entrepreneurship centers. She also mentored students in their entrepreneurial and international careers. Lale created the International Business program at College of San Mateo.

    In her leisure time, Lale is very active and likes to swim, run, hike and travel. She has traveled to many European cities including Istanbul, Paris and London.

    BUS 125: International Business »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. Grade only. Recommended preparation: Eligibility for College Composition. 

    There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    The International Business course introduces students to the integrated and interdependent global environment within which businesses operate. Using theoretical and practical perspectives, this course focuses on several aspects of the global marketplace: national differences; global trade and investment environment; global monetary systems; strategy and structure of international business; and international business operations. Students will examine local and neighboring business environments in addition to examining the local economic and political conditions as well as local currency fluctuation. Emphasis will be given on the recent changes resulting from BREXIT. Local guest speakers in industries affected by BREXIT will add to students’ experience.

    BUS 201: Business Law »

    3 units, CSU/UC transferable. Grade only. Recommended preparations: Eligibility for College Composition. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    This course is an introduction to law applied in business environments. Topics include The Constitution, legislative and administrative law, legal systems, enforcement agencies, contracts, crimes, torts, types of business formation, and employment law. Much of our legal system is rooted in British Common Law. We will compare applicable business laws to local and surrounding countries. If permitted, we will visit a local courthouse and additional legal sites in London. Local business or patent attorneys will be invited as guest speakers.

    BUS 203: Intercultural Relations in Global Business »

    3 units, CSU transferable. Grade only. Recommended preparation: Eligibility for College Composition. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    This course covers the basic principles of understanding and appreciating diverse cultures that make up global business, management, and the workplace. By examining dissimilarities in cultural systems in various societies, world regions and ethnic communities, students will learn how to manage successful relationships between international business participants from various cultures, appreciate cultural diversity, and apply ethical business practices around the globe. London has a very diverse population and students will visit multiple cultural sites including local businesses, ethnic neighborhoods, restaurants, Chinatown in London (comparing it to Chinatown in San Francisco), and museums of different cultures. In addition, students will be exposed to guest speakers who will share their experiences working in a global environment.

  • Ken Alexander - Contra Costa Community College District

    Ken Alexander was born, grew up and was educated, with a BA in Studio Art and an MA in Art History. He has been lucky enough to work in TWO different professions and loved them both: first, being a designer, but he loves teaching even more! 

    While thoroughly American, Ken has an affinity for Europe in general and for the U.K. in particular. He has spent over two years of his life traveling, in trips that varied from three weeks to three months in the U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Germany. While he has driven twice around the U.K., and traveled many miles by train, he has hiked over 1500 miles of National Trails in England, Scotland and Wales. The U.K is in both his blood as well as his DNA, so it has become his “home away from home.”. 

    Ken’s travels in Britain’s cities, towns and villages have given him the opportunity to get to know the British people and their island up close and very personally, often staying in private homes and hostels as well as guesthouses and hotels. He has walked the moors and forests, the mountains and the valleys, the rivers and the coasts of Britain. Along the way, there have been megaliths, hillforts, castles, fortresses, abbeys, chapels, churches, cathedrals, palaces, museums, theaters and of course, pubs!

    Since teaching graphic communications courses at the beginning of his career, he has moved progressively into teaching studio art, art history, and ultimately humanities courses. The greatest satisfaction he has in this broad range of subjects is the opportunity they afford him to satisfy an immense curiosity to know and understand more about art, music, drama, literature, history, philosophy and religion ranging from the prehistoric, ancient, medieval, early and late modern eras. He continues to practice his own artistic endeavors, as a painter (in oil and watercolor) and as a designer.

    All of these collectively gave Ken the opportunity to teach in the 1999 and 2010 Florence Study Abroad Programs. While he loved living and teaching in Florence, he looks forward even more to sharing the experience of one of the world’s great cities!

    ART 007: Medieval and Renaissance Art History (350-1550 CE)  »

    3 units; UC/CSU transferable. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    Many students eventually visit the cities of Europe, but later wish that they had known what they were seeing. In London, they will learn with me while they are temporary residents.  Although a modern metropolis, London is filled with civic and religious buildings and infrastructure (city walls, gates, churches, an abbey and even a castle) built during various cultural/art historical eras. Throughout these buildings are paintings and sculptures created during the Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, High Medieval and early Elizabethan periods. Collectively, they identify the values and assumptions of the English people as they became in fact, English. Therefore, they could be understood by people of those times holistically, without explanation. We today are not of that time or place, and therefore cannot “know” them as the citizens of London did. Art history teaches students how to look, how to evaluate what is significant, what it represents and why it is there. Instead of merely looking, students can be trained, by example and experience to observe, recognizing symbols, understanding their meaning and walking away, having truly experienced what the artists intended.

    London is the home of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert museum, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and the famous armor collections of the Wallace Collection and the Tower of London among many others. Without guidance, the artifacts there are only items behind glass or placed on pedestals.  These resources are very rich in terms of exposing students to the rich cultural heritage of the medieval and Renaissance eras.

    ART 008: Early Modern Art History (1550 to 1920 CE)  »

    3 units; UC/CSU transferable. There is no prerequisite for this class. 

    This course follows the history of Britain as it rose to become a world military, industrial and economic power, the empire “upon which the sun never set” through the art and architecture of the late Elizabethan, Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods as well as specific English movements such as the Pre-Raphaelites and Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will see how royal patronage of artists and architects began to yield to the rising middle class made wealthy by trade (in merchandise and unfortunately, slaves) and industrialization, commissioning paintings, sculptures and buildings that reflected their wealth and status. In reaction to the ugliness of mines, blast furnaces and the crowded and deplorable conditions in the mills and slums of the cities, we will see the British turn to the still-pristine, natural landscapes of their countryside. Finally, we will turn to English and Scottish Impressionism up to the national catastrophe of the First World War. (Please refer to the philosophy of Art History as detailed in the descriptor for ART 007, above.)

    HUMAN 4A: Shakespeare’s English Kings »

    3 units; UC/CSU transferable. 

    There is no prerequisite for this class. 


    Murder. Mayhem. Madness. In a series of plays devoted to questions of leadership and legitimacy the English Plantagenet Dynasty committed suicide in an ongoing lust for power. Shakespeare highlights the events that took place between 1399 and 1485, 86 years in which King Richard II is deposed and murdered by his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, who establishes the Lancastrian line of Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI. The ensuing Wars of the Roses would see Henry VI deposed and murdered, placing young Edward IV on the throne. His early death would lead to another deposition, this time engineered by Edward’s brother Richard III, whose memory is shadowed by the disappearance and probable murder of his nephews in the Tower of London. It closes with Richard’s brutal death on the battlefield near Market Bosworth and the beginning of the new Tudor dynasty. These events largely took place in London, and Westminster Palace and Abbey as well as the Tower, all in London there to be seen and experienced. Many of the battles of the Wars of the Roses (like St. Albans and Barnet) are within easy access from London and can be visited to see where the royal family tore itself apart. The content of this course includes Richard II, Henry IV, Pts. 1 and 2, Henry VI, Pts. 1, 2 and 3, and Richard III. We will read, hear and see all of these plays and if we are lucky, will be able to see a live performance or two at the New Globe Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Even Stratford itself would be within reach of our program.