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SMC students share abroad stories

Caitlin Housley | Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saint Mary’s College kicked off their International Education and Modern Language Week yesterday with an intercultural showcase. The event consisted of music, photos, videos and personal stories of study abroad experiences.

The showcase gave former study abroad students the opportunity to share their experiences.

“We send our students to other countries and now [they] have brought back the world to us. That is very exciting,” Dr. Alice Yang, the director of global education at Saint Mary’s, said.

Students study all around the world, including the countries of Rome, China, India, Ireland, Austria and many more. 

Krista Jones, a Saint Mary’s senior who studied in Uganda, said of her experience: “It was an experience unlike any I could imagine.”

In Uganda, children followed Jones wherever she went.

“They had never seen a white person before,” Jones said. “They just wanted to touch my skin.”

Mariam Masri, a Saint Mary’s senior who traveled to Lebanon, said her time abroad allowed her to meet relatives.

“It was time for me to meet my dad’s side of the family,” she said.

Masri also said being half Lebanese is quite unusual in America, but it was not so in Lebanon. She met many other “halfies,” she said. 

“There’s somebody else like me,” Masri said. “[It was] the experience of my life.”

Other students talked about the cultural differences of countries compared to America.
Others shared their hopes and desires for their host countries regarding health care, education, housing and other issues.

In addition, the night was a time to honor the study abroad video, photo and essay contest winners.

Junior Chelsea Crane won the video contest.

In the host country category of the photo contest, first place went to Allison Russell, a senior, second to Anne Maguire, a junior, and third to junior Caitlin Gorman.

In the reflections of Saint Mary’s experience photo category, Russell won first place while Megan McClowry, a senior, won both second and third place.

In the interactions with people in the host country category, junior Christina Grasso took first and second place and Jones took third. 

Megan Aldrup, a junior, and junior Caroline Arness won first and second prize respectively in the essay contest.

The event also helped educate future study abroad applicants about the various grants available to students that can aid in covering study abroad costs.

Yang said there are three possible grants for which students may apply. Two grants are funded by the Center for Women’s InterCultural Leadership (CWIL) and the Department of Humanistic Studies offers the third.

The CWIL grants break down into one grant specifically for the Saint Mary’s study abroad programs. However, this grant only applies to summer programs or the Rome program.

The other grant is for independent study, and not affiliated with any study abroad program. 
The deadline for this year’s grant application is Feb. 1. Yang said students should visit the CWIL Web site for additional information.