The University continues to encourage students to ignite change—locally and internationally.
The University ranks third among the nation’s top 40 masters institutions for students who study abroad according to an Institute of International Education press release.
Villanovans don’t have limits when it comes to study abroad.
“Our students study all over the world,” Liz Campanella, director of the Office of International Studies at the University said.
“This academic year, we’ve had students in 39 different countries.”
The study abroad program at the University works hard to personalize every student’s study abroad needs.
“Villanova partners with many wonderful overseas universities and international programs which have strong academic and enriching extra-curricular opportunities,” Campanella said.
“Finding the best match for each student is important, and I believe the overall success begins with the initial advising process.”
For many students, the study abroad program provides opportunities to expand horizons.
“I wanted a unique cultural experience mostly,” Hannah McCarty, senior finance major said. “I also wanted to challenge myself and learn new things by travelling.”
The program exposes students to diversity inside and outside of the classroom.
Students learn from instructors who share different teaching styles than those students are familiar with at Villanova.
Outside of the classroom, the diversity grows even more.
“Students are exposed to different teaching methods, new perspectives and often they can study topics that are not available here at Villanova,” Campanella said.
“On a personal level, the best study abroad programs can help students develop independence, self-reliance, confidence and a better understanding of their relationship to the world beyond campus,” Campanella continued.
For junior political science and comcommunication major, Noreen Ramsey, her London experience spoke for itself.
“The program that I chose offered an incredible internship opportunity,” Ramsey said. “I also had a few of my friends studying abroad in London with me. However, I made sure to choose a different program so I could still share some abroad experiences with them and also meet new friends and have some different experiences.”
Ramsey’s study abroad experience was a true success.
“My internship at the National Conservative Headquarters in London provided me with further experiences that I could never dream of,” Ramsey said.
“These experiences included attending a cocktail party at 10 Downing Street to meet the prime minister and being invited by a member of Parliament to have cocktails on the balcony of Parliament overlooking the Thames and the London Eye,” Ramsey said.
According to Campanella, the study abroad program has become part of Villanova’s culture.
Over 40 percent of last year’s graduating class spent at least a summer abroad.
There is a reason why the University ranks high for study abroad students.
For McCarty, the program has no limits.
“You could choose anywhere in the world and make a study abroad experience work under Villanova’s discretion,” McCarty said.
“The limits that constrain students are minimal and allow for Villanova students to find meaning where they see the best fit.”
Although there are hundreds of institutions that offer study abroad programs, Villanova ensures a personalized study abroad package for its students.
“Every student who studies abroad for a semester will meet with an adviser in our office at least once, and summer study abroad students will meet with their faculty program coordinators prior to going overseas,” Campanella said. “I think that level of personal attention sets our office apart from other institutions. “
Students recognize this personal attention overseas too.
“A comforting thing was that my abroad advisor was in constant contact with me,” Ramsey said. “Little things like making sure my credits would transfer and how to maximize my class opportunities, it was nice knowing that my college career wasn’t forgotten about.”
The cultural experience of studying abroad expands beyond the country a student visits. Often, students will travel to different locations.
“After traveling to eight countries in three and a half months, I saw so many different cultures that I had yet to experience,” Ramsey said. Villanova’s program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many students.
“I enjoyed the fact that Villanova set up cultural trips so that our learning expanded beyond the classroom,” McCarty said. “Travelling to different parts of Ireland and talking to locals meant a lot more than reading off of PowerPoint slides.”
Those who study abroad are in classrooms with other students from around the nation and the world.
Students excel oversees among their fellow classmates thanks to Villanova’s academic program.
“I scored the highest marks since I’ve been at college while I was in London,” Ramsey said. “My program was incredibly easy, but I think that is because Villanova has such a rigorous academic environment that I was more prepared than most of my London classmates.”
Although the study abroad program at the University has been a success, the Office of International Studies seeks to make improvements.
Campanella hopes to eliminate paper for applications and course approval forms and instead make the process entirely online.
The Office of International Studies hopes to implement more scholarship opportunities as well.
“I’d like to increase the number of scholarships that are available to students who are interested in studying abroad, both on semester and summer programs,” Campanella said.
“While most tuition-based scholarships travel with a student during the semester, for many students, study abroad is still not something they think they can afford,” she said.
Campanella believes that this minor detail should not halt a University student from pursuing the educational milestone that studying abroad can become.