Speaker reminisces on the benefits of studying abroad
What started out from humble beginnings has now grown into a significant part of undergraduate life for thousands of students.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Study Abroad program at Santa Clara.
Study Abroad began with a Jesuit’s love and passion for travel. Half a century ago, Richard Coz, S.J., formally launched the Study Abroad program at Santa Clara. It began as a small program for 30 to 40 students.
He created the popular summer program in Durham, England where, for more than 20 years, students experienced an international economics course taught by Coz, the annual pub crawl, a field trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and an Elizabethan banquet eaten without utensils.
Now, more than one-third of Santa Clara undergraduates travels the globe each year to participate in similar cultural experiences. Students have the opportunity to spend a summer, quarter or year in over 55 countries around the world through about 180 different programs.
“Now it’s part of who Santa Clara is,” said David Wick, director of Study Abroad in the Global Engagement Office.
On Tuesday night, the Alumni Association and the Global Engagement Office hosted a celebration of the milestone in the Donohoe Alumni House with about 50 students, alumni, faculty and staff. Anne Robichaud, class of 1970, shared a slideshow presentation, “Memoirs of Rural Life,” with hundreds of photos depicting her life in Umbria, Italy.
Robichaud studied abroad in Rome during her junior year from 1968 to 1969 through the Loyola Chicago program. She enjoyed her experience so much that she returned to Italy in 1973 and has lived there for more than half of her life. Robichaud offers tours around the area, teaches cooking classes and gives lectures.
“After all my years in Italy, there’s nothing about Italian customs, ways, lifestyles that is a mystery anymore,” said Robichaud. “It is home.”
Wick said that he is glad the university is consciously recognizing and celebrating this anniversary.
“One of the really exciting things about having a mature Study Abroad program, which we have, is that now we are able to look at it and ask ourselves, ‘How can we help students get more out of Study Abroad?’” said Wick.
Decades ago, most programs, including those affiliated with Santa Clara, were located in Western Europe and in well-known, English-speaking areas. Now, Santa Clara’s abroad profile includes nations in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia and South America.
“Certainly our vision as an institution has always been global,” said Wick.
Santa Clara’s recent target goal is to have roughly 350 students study abroad in the fall, 100 in winter and 50 in summer. For the upcoming school year, 358 students submitted applications and about 340 got accepted. Last year, over 500 students submitted applications.
The Global Engagement Office is currently focused on reaching all student demographics.
“We want all Santa Clara students to feel equally that they have this opportunity,” Wick said.
Barbara Colyar, director of alumni relations with the Alumni Association, is working to ensure that the study abroad experience is lifelong. At the Grand Reunion last year, alumni shared stories about their abroad experiences. This summer, the Alumni Association will be hosting a trip to England to celebrate this 50th anniversary. The trip will include a dedication of a commemorative bench on the River Wear to honor Coz and his founding role in the Study Abroad program.
On Feb. 7, Facebook newsfeeds exploded with posts after hundreds of students received confirmation emails to study abroad next school year. They will be embarking on journeys and joining those of their fellow Broncos who have taken advantage of this experience for the past half-century.
Contact Eryn Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.