June 03, 2010
When 20-year old Simone Pickersgill ’12TCB departed last spring to participate in St. John’s Discover the World program, she began a journey that broadened her spiritually, intellectually and socially. By the end of her 15-week, 18-credit sojourn studying in Salamanca, Rome and Paris, she understood what St. Augustine meant when he said, “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
"Now," said Simone, "I tell every student: you must study abroad if you can." At St. John’s — where Global Studies is a vital part of the college experience — Simone was able to overcome financial challenges to studying abroad. She won a $5,000 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and received an extra Student Financial Services grant from the University.
Simone said studying abroad deepened her appreciation for other cultures — and the physical beauty of other lands. "The more I saw of the world’s majestic mountains, trees and oceans,” she said, "the more I was overcome with awe for God’s creation.” She returned home with a desire to see more of the United States.
At the same time, the practical accounting major benefited intellectually from such eye-opening classes as international business, which she took at St. John's Rome campus. “I gained a global perspective that makes my business studies more exciting and meaningful,” she said. “I also confirmed my desire to become a professional accountant, especially now that I see opportunities I never considered before, like working overseas.”
A commuter student from Long Island, NY, Simone also experienced residence life through Discover the World. She enjoyed living and learning with fellow St. John's students. Their bonds grew stronger during side trips to places like Capri, Versailles, Florence, Madrid, Barcelona and Segovia. "This was the experience of a lifetime," said Simone.