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Global Gulls Discuss Their Study Abroad Experience

Abroad Main
Bennett St. Marie ’22 and Brian Tremblay III ’23 spent last semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, it’s an experience they recommend to their fellow Gulls.
6/15/2021

Endicott has a variety of robust study abroad programs that are available to students. Within these programs, students are able to experience a culture like never before. With the same hands-on learning experience our students expect, alongside new and exciting culture-enhancing adventures.

As Dean of International Education Warren Jaferian likes to put it, “At Endicott College, we believe the students are best prepared for our interconnected and globalized world if they are culturally aware, multicultural in their perspectives, and able to understand global issues from various points of view. Education abroad (study abroad & international internships) prepares students for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, or three–15 week internships abroad help students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.”

To hear just how impactful the study abroad experience has been on our students, and what it has been like during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we talked to entrepreneurship major Bennett St. Marie ’22 and sport management major Brian Tremblay III ’23, who each spent their spring 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

“I chose to study abroad in Spain because I wanted the opportunity to learn about new cultures, gain a different perspective of Spain and of course meet people in an environment altogether different from what I’m accustomed to.” —St. Marie ’22

“I decided to study abroad because I really was in need of going out of my comfort zone and had a thirst to learn about a different culture and submerge myself into a foreign place.” —Tremblay ’23

What has your experience abroad been like so far?

“This trip started out bumpy with a snow storm not seen in Spain for approximately 100 years but soon after we adapted to a daily routine, got our locational bearings, and settled into our academic responsibilities. Along the way we’ve explored various parts of the city, learned new customs and visited historical landmarks prevalent to Spain's history.”  —St. Marie ’22

“Thus far I have really enjoyed my time abroad for many different reasons. The biggest thing that I have got out of being abroad is facing new challenges and ultimately being able to really find myself and focus on what things make me happy and work for my overall success. I have really loved the people I have been put to travel with and the people that I have met being over here in Madrid.” —Tremblay ’23

How has Endicott made you feel comfortable studying abroad during COVID?

“Given the predicament we’ve all been living with for over a year now, Endicott has done the best it could to make sure that we all knew the correct COVID protocols and maintained constant communication with the group during our travels. Here at the CIS International campus, the same protocols for social distancing and mask wearing applied as they did anywhere else.”  —St. Marie ’22

“I have felt comfortable with studying abroad during COVID due to all the reinsurance Endicott has given, as well as all of the safety precautions that both Funway and CIS have taken to make the experience both meaningful and safe.” —Tremblay ’23

Abroad InsetWhat are some of the changes that have been put in place to keep you all safe studying abroad during the Pandemic?

“Similar to some states in the U.S., Spain has instituted a mask mandate, increased sanitation in the streets and Metro stations, made markers for people to stand every two meters, and has a greater presence of police to enforce these policies.”  —St. Marie ’22

“Some of the changes that have been made are things like the curfew that the city has, along with the mask mandate they have within the city.”  —St. Marie ’22

What are some fun experiences you have been able to have even admit COVID?

“Even with COVID we have found ourselves being adventurous in smaller parts of the city, taking walks in the local parks, and doing excursions put on by CIS. Travel outside of Madrid is limited (given the circumstances we are currently facing), but we make our own fun through the amenities offered at Funway or the day trips to ancient sites you wouldn't see in the States.”  —St. Marie ’22

“All of the experiences have been fun, but I have really enjoyed the excursions. Our coordinators are very good about planning fun excursions to go on to both learn the history, and enjoy the time that we have here. They have led to true learning experiences as well as more exciting exploring opportunities.” —Tremblay ’23

Would you recommend people study abroad even if the experience is a bit different due to COVID?

“I would recommend taking this trip despite the adversities to anyone in the States. Being further away from home and having to find your own way around unfamiliar places is essential to maturity, especially after these next four years. Going abroad will teach you beyond the academic classes you take, and could very well be an experience you remember for a lifetime.”  —St. Marie ’22

“I would recommend taking the challenge head-on. If you are safe and smart you can do anything and this experience, though it was tampered with COVID, has truly changed me and made me a better person. I would encourage people to have an open mind and get out of your comfort zone.” —Tremblay ’23

Any last points you’d like to share with prospective study abroad participants?

“As a whole, this experience is something I will never regret signing up for and I urge those who are on the fence to take the chance. Even in this Pandemic, options may be limited to travel, but you will still walk away learning a lot about what makes Spain different from the rest of the world. I have yet to find just one thing to be my favorite thing about this study abroad experience, because each time I perceive this to be the peak something new pops up I didn’t account for.”  —St. Marie ’22

“I just recommend this experience so much. It is so important to realize how small we really are and how different things are in different places. When you go to small school in New England for too long, you can sometimes only picture life being that, which is not bad at all. I just believe that an experience like this really makes you open your eyes, question things, and really reflect on who you are and where you want to go.” —Tremblay ’23

To learn more about our programs visit our study abroad page and to see our students abroad, visit our Instagram page.