Max Berkowitz – 1851 Staff
The study abroad program at Lasell reached record numbers this semester when 85 students were approved by the Office of International Services to study in countries around the globe.
With the number of students increasing since 2009, Lena Berc, Director of International Services, has been essential to the growth of the program, benefiting students who choose to expand their knowledge in global outputs.
Since Berc took over as director in 2009, the number of students who have gone abroad has risen from 43 in fall 2009 to 85 this semester.
“Our top programs that students travel to are London, Florence, and Australia,” said Berc. “With the increase of students who are choosing to go abroad these locations will continue to expand.”
Berc is pleased that more students are now able to go through the program and gain experiences they may not have encountered by staying on campus.
“Our ultimate goal would be to have 100 students go abroad in any semester,” said Berc. “Everyone’s main concern is the finances, but with our Homeschool Tuition Model the affordability of these experiences can be at the hands of every student at Lasell.”
The Office of International Services has also grown in staff numbers. Kyle Benedict, the newest addition to the Office of Student Activities (OSA), works half-time with OSA and half-time helping students plan their study abroad experience.
“The more outreach that we have the better. We have added two study abroad fairs as well as having a presence at Open House, Lasell Day, advertisements in The 1851 Chronicle, and a staff member has talked in each of the first year seminar courses,” said Berc. “Benedict helps our office with each of these projects which will help our program grow exponentially.”
One of the main objectives of the Office of International Services is to make sure students become fully immersed in the culture and classroom of the host nation.
“The more that the students are able to go into classrooms held at International Universities, the more the experience will rise for the students,” said Berc. “Once we can offer this program in more locations, our hope is that our number of students going abroad will be higher than it has been before.”
The Office of International Services has also added the Global Ambassadors. These students, alumni of the program, work as a team to prepare upcoming students to study abroad.
Ambassador Danielle Medaglia, a senior, said, “We are divided into subcategories by country and city to make sure that we can tailor the proper knowledge and experience to those taking off to new countries that we have studied in.”
On campus, the ambassadors work to promote the program and are spokespeople for the office and the entire Lasell community.
“I know every time I talk to a prospective student, I always bring up the great trips that I went on when I was in Italy,” said Medaglia. “Study abroad is a truly life changing experience and changes your outlook on life.”
When asked about her experience in Australia, senior Becca Bissonnette said, “Study abroad was a life changing experience. It takes dedication and a lot of effort to make it happen, but it was worth it in ways that I could never imagine. I wouldn’t change a second of my experience and I hope to return to Australia in the near future.”
With the addition of the Global Ambassadors and students such as Medaglia and Bissonnette, prospective study abroad students can gain more knowledge prior to going abroad to deepen their experience.
Interested students can visit the Office of International Services located on the second floor of the Arnow Campus Center and speak with any of the Global Ambassadors or Berc.