Study abroad students coming and going

September 5, 2018
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

Study Abroad Art

Saint Michael’s College will have 23 students studying abroad for Fall Semester 2018, with 71 returning to campus following their studies in 24 countries for Spring Semester 2017, according to Peggy Imai, director of the College’s Study Abroad Office.

Summer study abroad continues to be “a semi-popular option for Saint Michael’s students,” she reported, with 19 who went abroad through programs offered by the College’s study abroad partners. China, South Africa, Mongolia, and India were a few of their summer destinations.

In an email at semester’s start, Imai reminded faculty of this semester’s “comings and goings” among her study-abroad students, emphasizing the important role these experiences play in students’ education and in enriching classrooms at Saint Mike’s.

She said that while a handful of this semester’s study-abroad cohort departed in late July, the vast majority will be leaving between now and the end of September. “They are excited about the new adventures before them, but obviously there is some angst associated with being away for so long from friends and loved ones,” Imai wrote in urging faculty to maybe send notes of encouragement and support to their students about to head out to study abroad.

Of the 70-plus students returning from spring semesters overseas, Imai said, “I’m just now seeing returnees on campus and without exception they have interesting and meaningful stories to share. I trust they will bring their experiences and newly formed insights into your classrooms, hopefully to enrich group discussions and projects.”

Imai said she was pleased also that 49 students participated in summer programs designed and led by Saint Michael’s faculty and staff, noting that Academic Study Trips were offered in England (Kerry Shea & Christina Root), France (Terryl Kinder & Paul Olsen), Guyana (Katie Kirby & Kimoi Seale), and Quebec City (Kristin Juel & Laurence Clerfeuille). “These were unique opportunities for our students to explore new topics and to share small group experiences with classmates, faculty, and staff,” she said. “Student trip evaluations were universally positive, actually, they were brilliant!”

She gave a special nod to the four students who were awarded Freeman Grants to participate in credit-bearing internships in Hong Kong this summer. “This was a fabulous opportunity to spend eight weeks in the Pearl of the Orient, and I am thrilled that the grant has been renewed for next year,” she said. “You will be hearing more this fall from this summer’s grant recipients:  Aaron Kalat (MJD), Alex Otten (International Relations/History), Asah Whalen (Political Science/MJD), Charity Wright (International Relations). “

“Our students are studying and traveling abroad at a unique time in history, and I suspect that has and will continue to shape their understanding of their and our place in the world,” Imai told faculty. “I thank you for the time you spend with students stimulating and directing their active and curious minds, and instilling within them the understanding that academic excellence must be accompanied by respect and compassion for all. Our futures depend on it.”

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