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SMC students describe summer study abroad experiences

| Friday, August 30, 2019

As Saint Mary’s students return to campus for the academic year, one group of Belles is returning from much further away. Every summer, the College sends students across Europe to pursue academic, personal and cultural discovery. 

Sophomore Taylor Murphy spent her summer in Angers, France, a university town near LeMans, the founding site of the Holy Cross Congregation. Students participating in this program enroll at Université Catholique de l’Ouest for four weeks in July, completing an intensive language and culture course, earning five French credits and taking day trips in the Loire Valley region.

Murphy said she chose to study abroad through the Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership summer program with specific goals in mind.

“I went abroad to learn French better and to experience the culture,” Murphy said in an email. “I learned to adapt to different situations and to express myself in a foreign language.”

Murphy said she especially enjoyed spending time exploring and getting to know the city in which she was living.

“I loved visiting the Chateau d’Anger because I learned more about the castle located in the middle of the city I went to school in,” she said.

Murphy said she still keeps in touch with the new friends she made through the experience.

“In fact, we plan on taking a trip to see each other again soon,” she said.

Junior Mila Medich traveled to Rome, Italy for her study abroad experience, spending a summer term at John Cabot University.

“I am so glad I studied abroad because I genuinely met some of my best friends and had the opportunity to see such significant history in person instead of just reading about it,” Medich said in an email. “I met some of the most amazing people abroad, and of course, it was nice to be able to become closer with the girls from my own school as well.” 

Medich traveled to roughly 14 cities while living in Europe, but said Rome was her favorite because it quickly began to feel like home.

“Every weekend, our group of friends would pick somewhere to travel and we would hop on a train or plane and go to a new city or country,” Medich said. “Sometimes there were up to 11 of us traveling together at a time and we would rent an apartment for the weekend and just explore and wander around wherever we landed.”

One of her favorite memories from the program, she said, was the day she and others traveled by train towards the Amalfi Coast.

“We were planning to go to Positano, when one of our friends turned and told us to get off of the train now,” she said. “We got off at this really tiny town on the coast where there were no tourists, no one who spoke English, and it ended up being the most spontaneous and amazing day.”

Both Medich and Murphy said everyone offered the opportunity to study abroad should take it.

“It was a major check off my bucket list,” Murphy said.

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