By Lauren Hayward
A total of 290 juniors are studying abroad this academic year, and a myriad of sophomores are already making plans for next year. The staff in the Office of Study Abroad is available to advise students through their decision-making process. The programs abroad are coordinated by Professor Brittain Smith, Jimena Collingwood, M.A., and Angie Woodmansee, M.A(c).
Collingwood advises students interested in studying in Peru, Argentina, and Spain. Woodmansee oversees the study abroad programs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, France, and China. In addition, she advises the field studies programs through the Organization for Tropical Studies and the School for Field Studies. Smith oversees applications to Mansfield College, Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin, as well as programs in Italy, Germany, and Sri Lanka.
The College has 50 programs in 29 countries. Studying abroad enhances a student’s education by allowing the student to take classes in a different educational environment and select courses not offered at Holy Cross. It also allows students to develop a cultural awareness and fluency in another language and to move beyond their personal limits and become more independent.
Mary Cunningham ‘17 described her experience at the University of Strasbourg last year: “Although I was initially intimidated to study abroad in Strasbourg, France, it ended up being one of the most formative experiences in my life. I quickly became immersed in the French culture by eating meals with my host family, going to French cafes and museums and attending classes at the University of Strasbourg. While struggling to improve my French, I realized there is a beauty in imperfection and that what mattered most was not my proficiency of the language, but rather the relationships and the culture I became part of during my time in France.”
Although no two experiences are alike, studying abroad allows one to immerse him/herself into the culture and environment of the host country. “By living with my host family and going to a Spanish-speaking university, I’m able to understand that everyone has a different point of view,” said Maggie Strunk ‘18, who is studying abroad in Leon, Spain. “The only way to learn Spanish is to be completely surrounded by it. Studying abroad isn’t comfortable, and sometimes it’s very scary. But in the end, I know studying abroad will change me forever, how I think about the world, and how I communicate with others.”
Holy Cross ranks number one among baccalaureate institutions in the United States for long-term study abroad programs, according to the Institute for International Education.
“We pride ourselves for having one of the leading study abroad programs in the United States,” said Collingwood. Collingwood recommends that sophomores apply to the program even if they are unsure about studying abroad. A student can withdraw their application later if they wish. “My goal is to help as many students as possible find their path abroad, wherever it is they aim to go,” said Woodmansee.
If you are interested in more information, stop by the Office of Study Abroad in Smith Hall 217. You can also read students’ blogs at http://www.holycross.edu/engaged-learning/study-abroad/blogs.