Students from Discover the World: Europe program at Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland
After St. John’s announced that Limerick, Ireland, would become part of the popular Discover the World: Europe program, 198 students made the trip overseas in January to become the first cohort to experience this historic city.
“I absolutely loved Ireland,” said Alicia Villafana, a sophomore Business major from West Islip, NY. “My time in Limerick enriched my academic experience by giving me a global mindset and the ability to see things from a different perspective.”
Through the Discover the World: Europe program, students spend five weeks each in Rome, Paris, and now Limerick, taking courses in a variety of disciplines, while engaging in local cultures and communities through field trips, site visits, academic service-learning, and independent exploration.
Students in the program study at St. John’s Rome campus and Paris location; while in Limerick, they take classes at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), where they have full access to the institution’s facilities.
“We are delighted by the success of the partnership in its first semester,” said Matthew Pucciarelli, Ed.M., Associate Provost of Global Studies. “The faculty at MIC has been extraordinary, and the entire student experience has seamlessly blended into the Discover the World: Europe program.”
While some of Alicia’s fondest memories of Ireland involve trips to destinations, such as St. Mary's Cathedral, King John's Castle, and the picturesque Cliffs of Moher, she also cherishes the time she spent inside the classroom in Limerick. “The ability to study alongside Irish students and learn about their lives was incredible,” she recalled. “It was fascinating to compare and contrast their experiences with my own.”
Teresa Holliday, a Hospitality Management major, is happy she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the local culture of Limerick. “One of my favorite experiences was going to a European Rugby Champions Cup match at Thomond Park Stadium,” she said. “Rugby isn't very popular in the US, so I made sure to take advantage of this opportunity when I was there.”
The junior from Mineola, NY, also benefited from the unique academic structure of some of her courses at MIC. “My ethics class, for example, was taught by two professors,” she said. “One instructor focused on texts, while the other focused on concepts. It was so different from everything I have experienced in the US, and it gave me an in-depth understanding of the material.”
While in Limerick, Beverly Y. Danquah, a junior majoring in Communication Arts and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient, researched the philosophical theories surrounding migration and the refugee crisis in Europe and in the United States. “Studying in Limerick enriched my perception of the subject in Europe,” she said. “It taught me about the principles that are involved, and it made me question the laws we have in the United States regarding borders.”
Looking back on her time in Limerick, Rome, and Paris, Beverly considers studying abroad something everyone should experience. “Go abroad,” she said. “Meet new people, eat new foods. It will help you understand so many things you have never even thought to question.”