Going global gains traction with campus students who are looking to broaden their horizons.
Comments like this from Laura Sullivan ’17, who just returned from a semester in Perth, Australia, are the reason Suzanne Murphy loves her job.
“As study away coordinator at Saint Joseph’s, I help students realize their dreams of living and learning in another country,” she says. “Invariably, these cross-cultural experiences are transformative.”
For Casidee Couture ’17, who spent last semester studying in London, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opens your eyes to so many different things.
Laura Sullivan would agree: “When you go to a completely new location, you are able to really see who you are as a person... I ended up making the most amazing friendships. I want to spend the rest of my life traveling.
In recent years, there has been a major push to expand opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom. Programs include the Guatemala Service Trip and other service-learning experiences, as well as internships at The Washington Center and immersive education programs like the new Environmental Science Semester. And, increasingly, more and more students are opting to spend a semester, a year, or a summer studying abroad.
Creating Global Citizens
Helping students to develop a global perspective is one of Saint Joseph’s institutional learning outcomes. To that end, Suzanne Murphy’s charge is to elevate the visibility of study away programs. She visits every First-Year Experience (FYE) section in the fall, accompanied by a study away returnee, to raise awareness—and it’s working.
In spring 2007, just three students spent a semester abroad. This coming academic year, at least 25 will venture to countries around the globe, including England, Australia, Israel, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Spain, South Africa, and Costa Rica.
The College’s relationships with organizations such as the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE), International Studies Abroad (IA), and the Barcelona Study Abroad Experience, have helped to increase the number of high-quality study abroad opportunities for students on campus.
Now, the College is going further to make these kinds of experiences even more accessible to students.
Cost and Connections
Students may not realize that the costs of tuition, room, and board for a semester away are the same as a semester on campus. However, there are often additional expenses associated with traveling abroad that may be a financial hurdle for some students. That’s where the new Connections career development program can help.
Beginning with the Class of 2018, the Connections program enables every student who has attained 60 credits—typically by the time they are junior—to apply for a one-time stipend of up to $2,000, which can help cover the cost of a qualifying, hands-on experiential learning opportunity.
According to Beth Richardson, director of career development at Saint Joseph’s, “The Connections stipend can pay for airfare, passport, and visa applications, a bus to Boston, even a clothing allowance, making it easier for students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities.”
CIEE Global Scholars Grants
New also in 2016 is a remarkable opportunity for six Saint Joseph’s students to go abroad with financial assistance from the CIEE.
CIEE’s Global Scholars Grants support students who are attending CIEE Global Institutes in Berlin, London, Rome, and Paris. Four Saint Joseph’s students will receive $6,000 scholarships to study for a semester in one of those four cities.
Two other students will receive $10,000 Global Scholarships to study for six weeks at each of three different CIEE Global Institutes in the cities of their choice. The grants substantially reduce the cost of tuition, room, and board for these cross-cultural experiences.
“These scholarships have created an extraordinary opportunity for our students who will be studying away next year,” says Murphy, adding, “The ‘study away’ culture is starting to permeate the College.
Sullivan enthusiastically encourages others to embrace the study away opportunity. Her advice for students headed abroad: “Don’t let being outside of your comfort zone be a restriction. Go out, make friends, and experience the world.”