Seton Hill Students Enrich their Education with Study Abroad Experiences

Seton Hill University offers students the ability to travel the world, experience new cultures, and earn college credits with the Study Abroad/Study Away Program. In Spring of ’23, faculty and students explored and continued their education in Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. 

Like all study abroad trips, the students’ experience in Spain aligned with the Seton Hill University mission statement of preparing students to become "productive members of society committed to transforming the world.” 

“It is our goal to expose our students to a global community, and to foster their critical thinking by exposing them to real life experiences in an unknown setting,” says Associate Professor of Spanish Judith Reyna, Ph.D.  “The trip to Spain is a full immersion experience, where our students connect with the local culture by taking Spanish classes, living with a host family, and visiting cities in a meaningful way.” Courses students took during the trip to Spain included a history course on Early Modern Spain that was taught while exploring historical monuments, castles and battle zones.

Students who traveled through Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic were guided by faculty through the course War Crimes: An Examination of the Holocaust. 

“There is something about simply experiencing a culture outside of your own that sticks with you,” explains Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Shavonne Arthurs, Ph.D. “I have seen this with students on my trips, especially those that are first-time international travelers.” Throughout this trip students examined criminal justice issues on an international level while reflecting on the criminal justice system in the United States. 

“Having the opportunity to travel abroad with Seton Hill has added so much value to my education here,” says criminal justice major Aleeah Sheedy. “The trip was such a phenomenal and fulfilling experience that truly provided some eye-opening experiences. It reminded me of how grateful I am to have the chance to gain that type of knowledge firsthand.”

Associate Professor and Department Coordinator of Marketing and Communications Jen Jones, Ph.D., described the Study Abroad trip to Italy as being one that requires students to prepare ahead of time through research and reading. The courses students participated in while in Italy included a Multicultural Practicum and Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy and Rhetoric in Italy. During their trip, the students and faculty traveled to eight cities in 11 days: Verona, Venice, Florence, Assisi, Pompei, Sorrento, Capri and Rome.

"Having the opportunity to travel abroad with Seton Hill has added so much value to my education here."

“My course is designed so that students complete reading assignments ahead of departure and then reflect on those readings through journaling abroad and completing a presentation upon return to make connections between the course content and their experiences,” Dr. Jones states. 

Along with the reading, research, and critical thinking that is involved in a Study Abroad trip, students also experienced personal growth and created friendships and memories to carry with them beyond their time at Seton Hill.

“They were excellent ambassadors of the university and maintained a Setonian attitude the entire trip, which really impressed me,” said Dr. Jones.

The Study Abroad Program, according to Dr. Reyna, “makes you more humble as a human, and it helps you develop relationships with people around the world. Additionally, traveling builds up cultural sensitivity and strengthens your critical thinking skills.”