Resurgent numbers for Study Abroad a good sign
Among destinations for spring cohort are Argentina, Bhutan, Ghana, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Samoa, South Korea, Tanzania, says Director Peggy Imai
Saint Michael’s Study Abroad Director Peggy Imai often hears from returning students about the life-changing self-assurance they gain from global experiences that instill new confidence to handle whatever challenges life might present.
One recent example is Rebekah Underwood ’24, the fall semester’s lone study abroad student who recently returned from a successful semester in Samoa. “Her final day send-off gift was a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that Rebekah claims was no big deal,” wrote Imai in her customary mid-December message to faculty about Study Abroad comings and goings. “I’m sure Rebekah will have many more stories to share (hopefully not as dramatic!) when she returns to campus next semester.”
“Handling anything” long has been part of Imai’s job description, but particularly so since the COVID pandemic hit Study Abroad programs hard worldwide for the past three years and caused vastly reduced numbers that only this year have started to bounce back at St. Mike’s and most other colleges.
Emblematic of the strong comeback are about 30 students heading out from St. Mike’s to spring semesters around the world. (Even pre-pandemic, far fewer students did fall semesters abroad than spring semesters). In her message, Imai offered faculty “a few snippets of what our office has been involved with and where we are headed next semester:”
“SPRING 2023: Thirty students are currently making final arrangements for their spring semesters abroad. While this is a relatively small number compared to pre-COVID times, the Adventurous 30 are spreading their wings and traveling to a full range of destinations including: Argentina, Bhutan, Ghana, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Samoa, South Korea, Tanzania, and more. Departures will begin soon after the start of the new year and will continue on until the middle of February.”
WINTER-SESSION 2022/2023: After several attempts to get this trip off the ground [thwarted ty COVID]… I’m thrilled to report that [biologists] Paul Constantino, Peter Hope, and Scott Lewins will be co-leading a trip to Costa Rica. This hands-on program (researching three different ecosystems) has received high marks from students in the past and we anticipate similar stellar reports from those enrolled in the current course.
SUMMER 2023: Trip leaders are in the midst of recruiting students for Academic Study Trips being offered next summer: CANADA: French Language and Quebecois Culture in Quebec City (Peter Vantine, Kristin Juel); DENMARK: Business, Government, and Health Care the Danish Way (Paul Olsen, Trish Siplon); ENGLAND: Museums, Libraries & Galleries – Preserving the Human Experience (Jennifer Purcell, Anthony Bassignani); IRELAND: Costal Biology of Ireland (Declan McCabe, Paul Constantino);WALES: Environmental Study of Sustainable Places (Jeff Ayres, Laura Stroup). Program descriptions can be found on the study abroad website: https://www.smcvt.edu/academics/study-abroad/programs/ (click on Academic Study Trips).
FREEMAN FOUNDATION SUMMER INTERNSHIPS: Planning for next summer’s Global Citizenship International Internship Program is now in full swing. Jeff Ayres (professor of political science/international relations and director of the Center for Global Engagement), Robert Letovsky (business faculty) and I just completed interviews with an impressive group of applicants representing a variety of majors, backgrounds, and worldviews. The goal now is to match and place 17 students in eight-week long internships in Seoul, South Korea and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is through the generous support of the Freeman Foundation that we are able to offer these incredible life-changing opportunities in Asia to our students.”
Imai also said her office will be hosting a Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, January 26 in the early weeks of the spring semester “We encourage all students (especially first years) and interested faculty and staff to attend,” she said. “Representatives from our program partners will be on hand to share updates on study, research, and internship opportunities currently offered abroad …. We’ll be hosting a raffle with lots of cool stuff to give away!”