Marist Abroad Expands Opportunities, Gives Students Global Access

Bryan Terry, Assistant Director of Content Marketing & Communications

September 5, 2023 - Next stop: the world.

Marist has long provided expansive study abroad opportunities to students, most notably the College’s campus in Florence, Italy. Now though, the breadth and depth of international offerings is even greater. Marist Abroad currently offers more than 75 international experiences in 35 countries, with a wider variety of programs and more academic courses than ever before.

Roughly half of Marist’s undergraduates study abroad as part of their studies at least once, well above the national collegiate average of 11%, and that’s testament to the high-quality experiences Marist delivers. Since 2012, over 6,200 students have participated in the College’s international programs. Some go for a full academic year or more, some choose a more traditional semester-long experience, some elect for a short-term program, and still others combine opportunities for multiple trips beyond the Poughkeepsie campus.

"Studying abroad fosters intercultural understanding and personal growth, and research shows it improves GPAs, increases overall employability, and leads to higher student retention rates," said Dr. Gavin Webb, Dean of International Programs. "Marist Abroad is committed to working with all students in our community to find international program options that meet their needs and goals."

Marist’s Madrid program, led by Dr. Isabel Carrasco Castro, serves as one example of the growing opportunities that help make studying abroad viable for everyone. The program, which previously included courses exclusively in Spanish, now has an English-language track. It also has expanded its academic offerings, including internships and a research lab for science students.

Image of Marist students in Madrid.
 Students from the current Marist Abroad cohort in Madrid.

Amanda Caldarelli ('24) is a biomedical sciences major and Spanish minor, as well as a student-athlete on Marist’s Division I women’s soccer team. Calderelli took advantage of the off-season to spend a semester in Madrid conducting research at a local hospital on brain-related diseases and strokes.

"One of my concerns about going abroad was making sure I was staying on top of classes related to my major," Calderelli said. "Marist offers so many opportunities abroad that I was able to conduct research to count towards credit to my major."

Image of Amanda Calderelli at soccer stadium in Madrid.
Caldarelli at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of the Real Madrid soccer team.

Opportunities for learning that are closely intertwined with students’ majors span the globe, extending far beyond Europe.

The Asia Study Abroad Program (ASAP) is a full-semester abroad experience featuring visits to multiple countries. Although it is geared toward business majors and minors, any student who wishes to experience a variety of cultures across Asia can apply.

An academically rigorous program, the curriculum in ASAP is directly linked with traveling, as students visit companies across the region to learn how they work in terms of management and organization.

Image of ASAP students at Ford plant in Thailand.
Cohort of ASAP students at the Ford production plant in Thailand, with program founder and coordinator Dr. Wesley King (top row, second from left).

"The unique integration of coursework, travel, and company visits is a life-changing experience for ASAP students," said program founder and director Dr. Wesley King. “Experiencing international businesses and a multitude of cultures provides an incomparable learning opportunity and sets them up for future success in life and business."

Such unique experiences do not require students to spend a full semester abroad as Marist Abroad offers numerous short-term programs as well, with a multitude of academic possibilities.

In collaboration with the School of Science, for example, Marist now offers students in the Physician’s Assistant (PA) master’s program the chance to spend five weeks in Ghana to complete their clinical work.

The program was developed in conjunction with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana’s Central Region. It provides students the chance to be embedded in government hospitals and clinics, and work alongside local health practitioners and students from UCC. The first cohort of students will begin their clinical experience in Ghana this October.

Image of faculty and staff from Ghana program.
Dr. Gavin Webb, Dean of International Programs (fourth from left) and Medical Director Dr. Prah George Kwame (fourth from right) pictured with faculty and coordinators from the University of Cape Coast’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students to see healthcare provision from a unique perspective, and provide them opportunities to develop intercultural skills and to view their profession from a more global perspective,” said Webb. “Through this initiative, a rich and reciprocal partnership will develop, bringing further opportunities for collaboration between Marist and UCC.”

For incoming first-year students wishing to immerse themselves in an experience abroad, Marist’s award-winning First Year Abroad programs have also expanded in recent years, adding Dublin as a new location in addition to the traditionally held program in Florence. The expansive course offerings in these programs, including most first-year major courses and all core curriculum disciplines, means that over 95% of incoming Marist students are eligible to participate in their first year abroad.

Eric Pfalzer ('25), a Business Administration major, said the First-Year Dublin Experience was life-changing: “Going abroad opened another part of the world for me. The experiences I had, the connections I made, all made my time abroad worthwhile. Ireland is beautiful, along with the people who live there. To be able to study and live in another country is an experience of a lifetime.”

Image of students in Dublin program.
First-Year Dublin Experience students visiting Dun Aengus Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland.

Costs for many of these programs are comparable to the equivalent length of time on campus at Marist, and financial aid applies to studying abroad as well. “Marist continues its commitment to expanding access to education abroad,” said James Morrow-Polio, Director of International Programs. “The Presidential Equity Fund has made a profound impact on access to short-term attachment programs. For semester abroad programs, Marist’s Graduate School and Fellowship Advisor Pat Taylor helps students apply for nationally competitive scholarships.”

Deadlines for these programs are fast-approaching, with spring-semester applications due September 20 and spring attachment applications due November 1. Information on all Marist Abroad programs can be found on their website and at the Study Abroad Fair on September 13.

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