Excitement is growing for the forty-four students leaving to study abroad this upcoming semester. With spring programs in Costa Rica, Ireland, France and two in Germany, there is something for everyone. These programs offer opportunities for the student to learn and grow not only academically but individually as well. Each program has a particular focus, and ranges between 13-20 credits.
Ireland is the largest study abroad program offered at Aquinas, and just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Joelle Baldwin, Director of International Programs here at Aquinas said, “While an AQ-led program, we work closely with Connemara West (a non-profit organization that helps place our students in internships), the local National Schools (elementary schools) of the Tully Cross area, and the Inch House Study Center.”
History, Culture, and Literature will be key areas of study in the Ireland curriculum. Sophomore English major Miranda Burel when asked why she choosing to study abroad here this spring said “being able to do an internship abroad would really help me get me feet on the ground and give me a good experience working in a community that is different than the one I am in now. Tully Cross is a really rural area, very unlike Grand Rapids, and so the internship really gives a new perspective on life and building a community that is significantly smaller than Grand Rapids. Being able to do this internship too will set me apart from other candidates when applying for jobs and things like that.”
Those going to Costa Rica, France and Germany will be immersing themselves in the language. Junior student Joey Skorka will be studying abroad in France and when asked what he’s most looking forward to he said, “I’m most looking forward to is the fact that I will be able to explore places outside my comfort zone. I have never left the country and I have lived in the same state for my whole life so I am really looking forward to being able to broaden my horizons and explore the world.”
Those going to Germany will either be studying at the University Studies Abroad Consortium and Leuphana University in Lüneburg, or those in the Tübingen program they will attending the University of Tübingen. During the semester aside from studying, the students will participate in internships, class excursions around the surrounding areas, and other activities.
Studying abroad is an opportunity that Joelle Baldwin highlights with saying, “The best reward is to see how transformative a semester abroad can be for a student. The wealth of knowledge, confidence and sense of independence that a student gains during a semester abroad is amazing”.