Holy Cross Takes Top Seat in Ranking for Long-Term Study Abroad Participation

Students share their experiences abroad through photos

Institute of International Education.

According to its report, 133 Holy Cross students studied abroad on long-term programs during the 2015-16 academic year, surpassing the second-ranked Sarah Lawrence College by 58 students. This marks the ninth year in a row that the College has held one of the top three positions on this list.

Holy Cross’ yearlong programs — located across the globe from Germany to Japan — are a staple among the College’s study abroad offerings and allow students to engage in academic and cultural immersion in their host countries for a full academic year.

“Studying abroad for the academic year is radically different from being abroad for a semester, which, when you think about it, is only three-and-a-half or four months,” says Brittain Smith, director of study abroad at Holy Cross. “When you're abroad for the year, however, you're able to turn your new environment into a new home. One student put it to me this way: ‘I knew I was attending Oxford for the year, so I went into it knowing I was going to invest in my time there. I bought plants for my apartment, I made friends, I put down roots myself. It was an entirely different mentality from the start.’”

“Rather than being an outsider looking into a culture, you gradually become an insider looking at your own culture from a newly acquired and broadened vantage point,” Smith shares. "Students develop their independence and confidence as well as the ability to navigate a culture different from their own, leaving an impact that goes well beyond their time at Holy Cross."

Each year, returning study abroad students give the campus a glimpse of their rich experiences abroad through an annual photography contest. Photos are submitted showcasing scenes from all over the world — from the drought-affected villages of Tanzania to the rolling, sheep-filled hills of Ireland. Among the varied images, three were awarded prizes in additional to three honorable mentions for the 2016-17 academic year, as shown below.

2017 Study Abroad Photo Content Award Winners

First Place

“Bridging the Gap” by Brenna Kent ’18political science major with concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies Location: Northern Ireland, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge; Program: University College Dublin, Ireland “This photo speaks volumes to the adversity that one must overcome and summon the courage to cross while studying abroad in a foreign country.”

Second Place

“Water Scarcity” by Vasco Chavez-Molina ’18, anthropology and Environmental Studies double-major with a concentration in Africana Studies Location: Yaeda Valley, Tanzania Program: The School for Field Studies, Tanzania “When interviewing local Datoga villagers in Yaeda Valley about climate change, most of them stated that draughts are lasting longer while the rain season is becoming shorter. This underground well, about 30 feet deep, provides water for their cattle during the dry season.”

Third Place

“Serengeti Miracles” by Ciro (CJ) Aprea ’18biology major and Environmental Studies minor Location: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Program: The School for Field Studies, Tanzania “This was the second sunset we witnessed during our time in the Serengeti. I remember being so emotionally overwhelmed on this drive. I will never forget flying through the plains in the research jeeps, getting covered head-to-toe in dust from the path, feeling the warmth of the sun, and experiencing pure bliss with the beautiful people I had the chance to meet during the semester.”

Honorable Mention

“Sheep in the Mountains” by Grace Lavelle ’18mathematics major Location: Connemara, Ireland Program: National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland “While in Connemara, we stopped to take pictures and a herd of sheep ran through in front of us, the red paint distinguishes to whom the sheep belong.”

Honorable Mention

“Make Love, Not War” by Joey Benassi ’18, French major Location: Strasbourg, France Program: Universite de Strasbourg, France “With the terror attacks at the Bataclan in 2015 still fresh in our minds, we didn’t let that stop us from seeing a wonderful concert put on by Flume. The graphic in the background of two people kissing is all too symbolic of France’s response to these attacks: to come together.”

Honorable Mention

“Cosmic Love” by Ciro (CJ) Aprea ’18, biology major and Environmental Studies minor Location: Moyo Hill Camp, SFS Centre for Wildlife Management Studies Program: The School for Field Studies, Tanzania “If I’m going to be honest, Florence and the Machine’s “Cosmic Love” wouldn’t stop running through my head as I saw for the first time how wild the Milky Way is with my own eyes. With virtually little to no light pollution, a whole new perspective on the night sky was elucidated. My friends and I continued to star gaze - sometimes until 3 in the morning - whenever we could.”

Honorable Mention

“La Torre de Hércules” by Lauren Byrne ’18, English major and education minor Location: La Coruña, Spain Program: Universidad Da Coruña, Spain “When my mother and youngest sister visited me in Coruña this past April, I knew that the iconic Torre de Hércules had to be the first place we visited. To me and my fellow Holy Cross friends in Coruña, the torre is a symbol of our study abroad experience and making the city our home, so showing my family this beautiful site truly felt like the moment my year in Spain came full-circle.”

The College also offers yearlong study abroad programs, as well as single-semester programs, month-long summer programs, and faculty-led study tours during the semester breaks. Find out more about studying abroad here.