This year marks the 35th anniversary of study abroad here at Manhattan College. To celebrate the milestone, the study abroad office invited both study abroad alumni and students to a reception in the Student Commons this past Thursday, Nov. 19, to celebrate how these experiences have shaped their lives and careers.
The event began with welcoming remarks from Provost William Clyde, followed by a history of the 35 years of study abroad programs by Nonie Wanger, director of study abroad.
For the past 35 years, Manhattan College has sent students to 59 different countries in every part of the world.
The presentation highlighted Manhattan College’s first program to Reims, France from 1986 to 1989, which has since expanded to current program offerings in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Florence, Italy and Madrid, Spain.
Aside from semester and year-long programs, the presentation also mentioned that Manhattan College offers trips during the winter intercession, spring break and the summer. Currently, Manhattan College also has exchange programs to France, South Korea, Spain and Mexico.
Highlighted during the anniversary presentation were other milestones, as Manhattan College celebrates a 15-year anniversary with the Paris MICEFA Exchange Program, 20 years of programs in both Paris and Florence and 10 years of a Manhattan College program in Lyon, France.
The presentation concluded with testimonials of past study abroad participants, who reflected on their experiences abroad and submitted these reflections to the study abroad office.
As part of the event, study abroad alumni were asked to send in a short essay, brief paragraph, anecdote, photos or short video about their study abroad experiences. The study abroad office is planning to create a testimonial journal of Manhattan College study abroad experiences.
Antonia Conti, class of 2006, wrote, “studying abroad gave me the opportunity to live and breathe another world. It awakened an interest in me I wasn’t even aware about until that point.I love to learn languages, think through their unique constructs and understand cultural differences.”
Another study abroad alumna Jessica Scarfuto wrote, “my experience will stay with me forever in the form of pictures and memories. I’m so lucky to have been able to embark upon it.”
The event concluded with words from study abroad alumni who served as testimonial speakers.
Eve Walters, Ph.D. and class of 2003, was a chemical engineering major and basketball player during her time at Manhattan College. She decided to study abroad for a year in London while attending MC.
Though this meant quitting basketball for a year, this experience led her to spend another 10 years in Europe actually playing basketball, and eventually pursuing a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at the Technical University of Munich.
“The international culture and world we live in today is a wonderful experience,” Walters said.
Dr. Alan Hartman, class of 2003, praised the commitment of Manhattan College to study abroad programs.
“It is interesting to see how different life experience[s] play out. Studying abroad puts [students] into something difficult, and they either sink or swim. Manhattan College students have the caliber to swim pretty well,” Hartman said.
Another speaker at the event, Ariana Prendergast, class of 2009, is now a teacher of French and Italian and the chair of the language department at DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey.
“Studying abroad has changed my life in so many ways,” Prendergast said.
Even after the presentation ended, the attendees lingered and shared stories and memories of times spent abroad.
For many, it is experience that lives on, even years after returning home.