From Japan to Spain: Study Abroad with Manhattan College Gives Students the Experience of a Lifetime

Photo of the Eiffel Tower taken in Paris France on a study abroad trip with MC. ELISE VISSER/COURTESY

By Maizy Swift, Assistant Production Editor

With the recent low enrollment in Manhattan College’s study abroad programs, many trips have been canceled. 

Each year, Manhattan College offers study-abroad opportunities for all students to take part in. Students have the opportunity to study abroad for two weeks or a semester.

Emmett Ryan, the executive director of global engagement at MC, spoke to The Quadrangle about how many students studied abroad this year,

    “This academic year, we’ve had approximately 170 students study abroad across all of our programs: fall, winter intersession, spring, and summer terms,” Ryan said. “We have a variety of different courses running: 5 undergraduate classes, 2 graduate classes, and 1 summer research trip.”

Students traveling with Manhattan College this summer are going to Japan, Italy, Spain, England, Austria and the Czech Republic for different classes. 

MC’s study abroad program also offers opportunities to join other universities, such as  École Catholique des Arts et Métiers (ECAM) in France in collaborative studies. 

“We also have 9 incoming study abroad students this summer from ECAM, a Lasallian engineering school in Lyon, France,” Ryan said. “Dr. Bahman Litkouhi developed this exchange relationship many years ago and we hope to send some of our Jaspers to ECAM next year as well for a similar program.”  

In fact, MC students can study at any Lasallian university in the world. 

“Manhattan College students can also study abroad as an exchange student at any of the 65 Lasallian universities around the world (and vice versa for incoming students),” Ryan said. 

However, Ryan describes the lack of enrollment in the summer study abroad programs this year, which makes it difficult for the programs to occur. 

“We had to postpone some summer trips that were under-enrolled, but we hope to run all of them again in the very near future,” Ryan said. “One example would be a psychology class taught in a new location for us, Belize, that examines sensation and perception through the lens of marine mammals. The research organization the professor works with requires a minimum number of student participants, so we’re hoping to get a few more on board to run the course this winter.”

The Study Abroad office is hoping to find ways to increase enrollment in the programs, including increasing scholarship opportunities. 

“Getting more students to study abroad and enroll in the classes is key,” Ryan said. “The study abroad office is exploring ways to make more scholarships available to students, this will make traveling more accessible to everyone during the intersession breaks, as there is a separate program fee charged for each trip.”

Furthermore, studying abroad is actually not much more expensive at a partner school than a semester here on campus. 

“If a student wants to study abroad during the semester (spring or fall), then there is no major cost difference in relation to on-campus tuition if one were to study at a partner school in another country,” Ryan said. “And in most cases, a student’s financial aid package would carry over.”

According to students who have studied abroad, it has been a life-changing experience. 

Junior Grace Holodak studied abroad in Rome, Italy for her religion course and described the impact it had on her. 

“The semester benefited me in so many ways but I would definitely say I feel more independent than I ever have and I feel way more confident traveling to other countries,” Holodak said. “Living in another country for three months sounds scary but I would recommend anyone that has the opportunity to do so should absolutely do it.”

The experience not only gave Holodak a new sense of independence but a greater appreciation for life. 

“I was able to make connections with people from different cultures and learn a new way of life entirely different from my own,” Holodak said. “Now that I’m home I know I’m going to take some of those customs with me, like slowing down and enjoying life rather than living the ‘grind’ lifestyle that many Americans are used to.”

Holodak also expressed the importance of studying abroad as a college student. 

“It’s also important to study abroad because at this age we don’t have a ton of responsibilities and you never know when you’ll have an opportunity like this again,” Holodak said. “We’re so young and there’s a whole world out there for us to explore, even if it’s scary, definitely do it.”

Angela Meister, a sophomore, studied abroad in Venice, Italy. Meister explained that learning in a study abroad class was much more immersive than a typical course due to physically being within the culture. 

“Honestly I learned so much more than I feel like I could have in a classroom because you’re immersing yourself in the culture,” Meister said. “It’s not like a sit-down type of event and I felt it was like 10 times more engaging. I think it is something that everyone should experience because studying abroad really opens up new possibilities and experiences and once you start you do not want to stop.”

Meghan Foster, a sophomore, who studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a transnational media class shared a similar experience. 

“This experience benefited me as I feel it’s important to immerse yourself into another culture if the opportunity arises,” Foster said. “Studying abroad also allows more confidence and independence. I think it’s important to study abroad because I find it’s important to learn about other cultures and the best way to learn is by living in that environment.”Studying abroad is not only a supplementary part of the college experience, but also a way to experience new cultures and all the world has to offer. Be sure to stay tuned for study abroad opportunities next semester, and email with any questions you may have.