Many Seton Hall students and professors take advantage of the summer months to study abroad. Some will take part in study abroad programs headed to Italy and China among other places.
Director of International Programs Maria Bouzas explained why students choose to study abroad.
“Studying abroad allows students to gain new skills and experiences by going outside of their comfort zone. By living abroad for an extended period of time, students can improve their language proficiency, cultural competency, adaptability, confidence and independence, and the list goes on,” Bouzas wrote in an email.
The offerings for summer 2018 feature a wide range of internships, classes and faculty-led trips.
“This summer there are faculty-led groups going to the Netherlands, China, Japan, Spain, Italy and Bosnia. Then, students are going independently with third party programs or completing internships in France, UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Haiti, Costa Rica, Russia and Togo!” she explained.
Evaline Horng, a graduate student in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, decided to travel to Bosnia this summer. Horng wished to see Bosnia’s progression following tension in the 1990s.
“I’m excited to see how peace has helped to rebuild Bosnia since the conflict in the 1990s. What I’m most excited to see is the influences and impact peacemaking and reconciliation can have over a once war-torn region,” Horng wrote in an email.
Horng was interested to see the country she learned about in her diplomacy classes.
“The Bosnia Crisis is an event that comes up a lot in diplomacy classes, and since Peacemaking and Reconciliation has been an interest of mine since even before I started my studies at SHU, and is one of my specializations, the Bosnia Crisis peaked my interest,” she said. “I wanted to take this trip to learn about the storied history of the country first hand and to see how the country has rebuilt itself in the years of peace.”
Melanie Wedemeier, a junior majoring in environmental studies, traveled to Italy this summer so she could earn credit for her Religion Core 3 class.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing the Italian culture and traveling with my best friend from school. I’m not afraid of much besides loving it there too much and not wanting to come home! I also decided to take this trip to get credit for the Religion Core 3 class,” Wedemeier expressed in an email.
Dr. Roseanne Mirabella, who will be traveling to Italy with students abroad for her eighteenth year, sees how much the students grow from their travels.
“Each class is different and each experience is different. To a person, all of my students have come home changed by the experience,” Mirabella wrote in an email. “From the first day when we visit the Church of St. Clemente, exploring the Roman homes and the fourth century church found underneath the 13th century present-day church, the students come to appreciate the thousands of years during which philanthropy blossomed within the heart of Christianity.”
The students benefit from their unique learning experiences abroad, according to Mirabella.
“We walk the streets of Rome and visit the sites where major figures lived and worked as charitable agents serving those in need. We also engage in service learning while on these trips, volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity, Caritas in Rome, and Sant’Egidio,” she said.
“Rome becomes a living classroom for the students with the combination of service learning and lectures impressing on them the important role of Christianity in our philanthropic activities today,” Mirabella added.
Dr. Dongdong Chen, the director of the Chinese Program and chairperson of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, is in Nanjing University in Beijing, China with students who are taking courses. She has led study-abroad programs in the past and explained what other experiences have been for students.
“The experience is exciting, inspiring, and of course stressing among many others. While traveling with students, I usually learn a lot from them. Students always share with me that the study-abroad program is an eye-opening experience, and for some it has changed their life,” Chen wrote in an email.
Bouzas echoed Mirabella and Chen’s sentiments about the programs being life changing. She mentioned the capability the students have to apply the lessons and skills they acquired abroad to other elements of their lives.
“Furthermore, students can add context to the material they learn in the classroom by practicing the language on a daily basis with natives, learning cultural nuances, visiting historical sites, etc. Then when students return home, they can apply these new skills and experiences to their studies or on the job,” Bouzas said.
Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.