by Megan Dreher, Editor-in-Chief
On Monday, October 7, the application for Winter 2020 Study Abroad programs went live. Students filled the Office of Study Abroad in Thomas Hall at noon to receive and fill out the preliminary application, vying for a spot in one of the 10 programs offered over the coming winter intersession.
Ricardo Dello Buono, Ph.D., is the director of Study Abroad as well as a professor of Sociology at Manhattan College. He was impressed with how many students came to fill out the application to study abroad for intersession, but was ultimately not surprised based off of how popular these programs have become in recent years.
“Last year we broke a record with how many people studied abroad, and this year it looks like it’s just as robust. In the first several minutes, two of the courses were completely full. What we’re seeing is that intersession is becoming really popular for a lot of reasons. Even with our shortened intersession period now, we’re finding that people, right after Christmas, can fit in a three credit course and have a really amazing experience,” said Dello Buono.
The increase in interest to study abroad short-term is a trend that Dello Buono states is happening world wide. This is just one of the many characteristics that Manhattan College is adapting to. But Dello Buono also notes that the college is ahead of the curve when compared to other colleges and universities when it comes to the experience that students are receiving when abroad.
“All of our short-term abroad programs are exclusively faculty-led programs. It works very well for our students to be able to customize their abroad experience to our style, as the Lasallian ethos is there. All of our study abroad programs are experiential, so the city or location is the classroom. These are distinguishing characteristics that are not easy to accomplish and require a lot of dedication, but our faculty rise to the occasion,” said Dello Buono.
Roughly 200 Manhattan College students study abroad each year, a figure that is impressive for an institution of our size. The popularity of the intersession programs contribute to that. By the morning of October 10, three of the 10 programs offered were completely full. These programs stay so popular amongst students because the college is always trying to offer new and unique destinations in addition to the common and very popular European trips.
“Dubai was an exciting new addition, India was an exciting new addition, Germany is not completely new but it has been quite a while since we’ve gone there on a study abroad,” said Dello Buono.
Often times students study abroad for the first time to fulfill a liberal arts requirement, or others do it to take advantage of an interesting elective. For students like senior Brooke Hynes, choosing to apply to the winter Barcelona, Spain trip was the perfect way to fulfill a requirement while having fun.
“I always knew I wanted to study abroad but not for a full semester. I also knew it would make my spring semester senior year so much less stressful. I had to take an English class and it was between Barcelona or London, and I’ve always wanted to go to Spain,” said Hynes.
Other students have taken advantage of the winter intersession trips in the past but still have more sights to see before graduation in the spring. Senior Caroline Shea is one of those students, and has also applied to the Barcelona trip abroad.
“Unfortunately, all of the classes offered over winter count as electives for me, so it came down to where I wanted to see. I love traveling and when I was younger my family did a lot of traveling but I don’t remember it, so I want to make those memories now. I’ve always wanted to visit England and Spain so these programs were perfect fits. I’m hoping to improve my Spanish and learn about different food cultures,” said Shea.
Students like Hynes and Shea are prime examples of the heightened interest to experience academic classes in a much more worldly setting. This trend is promising for the advancement of a strategic plan to ultimately increase the number of students at Manhattan College who have an international experience. Eventually, Dello Buono hopes that like many other colleges and universities, Manhattan will have a requirement for all students to study abroad at some point during their collegiate years.
“People keep telling us that their experiences abroad were transformative. This is the word that people use: transformative. They say, ‘I come back a different person,’ and we see this in the classroom. It’s just a whole, complete experience that changes the way you look at things,” said Dello Buono.
But for now, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities to study abroad for either an intersession or an entire semester. For this upcoming intersession, students will be accepted into the various programs on a first-come first-served basis. Requirements for students to apply include a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA, must be in at least their second semester of study at the college, and must have no holds on their account. For more information on available programs or how to apply, students are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Office in Thomas Hall 3.32 or visit their website https://manhattan.edu/academics/study-abroad/.