Navigating cobblestone streets too narrow for a Google Maps van to squeeze through. Taking public transportation toward the city centre, only to realize you boarded the wrong train. Discovering a hole in the ground where the toilet should be.
Studying abroad can be a lot to process.
For the third year, SJC brought back its passport-stamped globetrotters to the McGann Conference Center to celebrate its annual Study Abroad Conference – a day of sharing experiences, networking and cultural discussions among student peers and professors.
“The program is growing exponentially each year for study abroad,” said Linda Lubranski, SJC’s coordinator of global studies and co-director of the conference. “And that’s because it’s part of the culture — to hear students talking about their experiences, to have faculty investing so much in developing our programs.”
Lisa Tafuro, Ph.D., a communication studies professor and conference co-director, said the purpose of the conference is to get students to fully understand their travel abroad experienced.
Global Studies wants students “to integrate that transformational experience they had into their lives and what it means to them today,” Tafuro said.
The all-day event included special breakout sessions led by the study abroad students themselves, a Colombian-themed luncheon, panel discussions and special presenters. Guest speakers included Lubranski and Tafuro, as well as SJC’s Interim Provost Thomas Travis, Ph.D., and Julia Sergison ’16, a Spanish major who spoke about her experiences in the Dominican Republic working as part of Charlie’s Foundation — a foundation that teaches children English through sports.
One great thing about global study is when you go out and be out of your comfort zone, you get a chance to experience who you really are instead of who you think you are.”
“I graduated in 2016, and about a month and a half after I graduated I was offered a job in the Dominican Republic,” Sergison said. “And if I learned anything at St. Joe’s, it’s take advantage, say ‘yes.’ You create opportunity for yourself, so why turn it down?”
Also in attendance were the faculty leaders who previously led students on global journeys, including Interim Executive Dean Wendy Turgeon, Ph.D.; Art Department Chair Dawn Lee, Ph.D.; History Department Chair James Blakeley, Ph.D.; and psychology Associate Professor Peter Lin, Ph.D.
“One great thing about global study is when you go out and be out of your comfort zone, you get a chance to experience who you really are, instead of who you think you are,” Dr. Lin said. “From that you generate a lot more wisdom and compassion for yourself and others. So I think global studies is very important.”