Study abroad numbers reach new high with new director

By Natalie Gates, Staff Writer 

Spring 2019 is projected to to have the highest number of students to ever study abroad at Fisher thanks to the direction of new director Dr. Maria Stella Plutino-Calabrese.

Forty five students are in the process of completing applications, with still three months to go until the due date. Sixty students are likely to venture abroad next spring.

Currently, Fisher students are all over the world, including Rome, Italy, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Limerick, Ireland and Granada, Spain. Plutino-Calabrese believes that many students pick certain countries based on their heritage.

“Students have a lot of interest in going back to their roots, they are very interested in traveling to the country they are from,” she said.

Plutino-Calabrese began her first term as director this past fall. As someone who has spent a significant amount of time abroad, she brings significant experience to the position . She has lived in England and Scotland, but is originally from Italy. Plutino-Calabrese speaks fluent Italian and Spanish and said that she is thrilled to be the new director.

Plutino-Calabrese welcomes all students interested in the program which may be why there has been an increase in students going abroad this fall. She is also supportive of the benefits that arise from studying abroad.

“I strongly believe study abroad is a life changing opportunity for students,” said Plutino-Calabrese. “Going abroad, students are allowed to get out of comfort zone, they learn another culture and often language. Students who have gone abroad are addicted to going. Once you get that comfort level, once you have experienced the world you want to know more and more.”

She says the lessons students gain from this experience are beyond what can be taught in a classroom and advises anyone who has the option to go abroad, to take it.

“We get a lot of students who say they regret not going,” she said.

In the fall 2017 semester, six students studied abroad. This upcoming fall, 14 students will journey to different countries. The spring 2017 and spring 2018 semesters both had 35 students studying around the world. 

Although, study abroad is financially out of reach for some. What several don’t know is that the financial aid received at Fisher is applied to the school chosen abroad, with the exception of summer programs.

With the popularity of the nursing program at Fisher, many students are unaware of their options and are often talked out of going. However, nursing students are able to study abroad in the second semester of their sophomore year and this semester welcomes a number of nursing students who will take advantage of this opportunity. 

“Fisher’s program seems strong with all the options of schools they have,” said freshman Clare Lyons. “Not many nursing programs allow you to study abroad…that’s one of the main reasons I picked Fisher.”

Students who are interested in learning more about study abroad can attend the informational session on February 13 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Basil 119, or visit https://www.sjfc.edu/major-minors/study-abroad/.

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