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Saint Mary’s offers new abroad programs

Alex Winegar | Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saint Mary’s joined forces with four other Holy Cross colleges this summer to create the Holy Cross Global Education Consortium (HCGEC), which will enable the College to broaden its study abroad programs.

Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the College’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, said the consortium will increase study-abroad opportunities for students.  
“It’s really the wave of the future how smaller schools, like us, can provide more quality options for our school and the resources that our faculty have,” Meyer-Lee said.

The colleges in HCGEC include Holy Cross, Kings College in Pennsylvania, Stone Hill College in Massachusetts and Saint Edwards in Texas, Meyer-Lee said. In addition to the eight summer-study programs Saint Mary’s currently offers, Belles can now spend the summer studying in Peru, East Africa, or Spain and Morocco through Kings College.

Meyer-Lee said the consortium enables Belles to study abroad in programs the College would not have been able to fill by itself.

“And the Holy Cross family is just a very natural one that our students and [faculty] value,” Meyer-Lee said. “It’s kind of a formalizing of that relationship.”
Saint Mary’s evaluated each program put forward by Kings College to make sure the options would fit students’ expectations and to prevent overlap among programs, Meyer-Lee said.

“[They] didn’t overlap too much with what we already have and [provided] something sort of unique that would be attractive, so that’s in general why we opted into all three,” she said.

The summer programs provide another option to students who have difficulty fitting semester-long programs into their major requirements, Meyer-Lee said. Some students who think they aren’t ready to go abroad for a whole semester also opt for the shorter summer programs, she said.

“For some people, they do one of these at the beginning after their first year of study when they are kind of not sure yet, and often then they do find a way to spend a whole semester abroad because they get a taste of it and find it very compelling,” Meyer-Lee said.

Saint Mary’s faculty members will be part of the teaching staff in the Peru and East Africa programs through Kings College, Meyer-Lee said. She said these faculty members can then bring this new knowledge back to their classrooms.

“A wonderful value of the summer programs is that the faculties get to go, which then keeps them engaged internationally and able to bring those global perspectives to all the classes they teach,” Meyer-Lee said.

Meyer-Lee said the consortium aligns with Saint Mary’s mission by encouraging assessment and understanding of the challenges of the contemporary world that Saint Mary’s women face.

“Our mission within Saint Mary’s is to foster international competence, which is critical to empowering women, and to make a difference in the world,” Meyer-Lee said. “All of [the summer study-abroad programs] do that in one way or another.

Contact Alex Winegar at awineg01@saintmarys.edu