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Study Abroad

As freshman year comes to a close, this is probably the best time to be looking at all the options students will have during their Bona journey. The University is rich in areas of service, volunteering, and academic experiences, both here and abroad. Qualified students can apply for semester, full-year, or summer overseas academic programs.

The office of International Studies maintains a website that lays out experiential opportunities abroad. Included is information about academic opportunities that fall into two categories: 
• programs that have a faculty leader and a population usually made up of SBU students traveling to an overseas destination and taking classes from SBU instructors
• programs where SBU has overseas affiliations. Those partner institutions serve as host institutions to our students. Students are not accompanied by SBU personnel, nor are they traveling with a group of SBU students. Those programs cover the span of six continents and offer programs suitable for students from all majors. Most provide total immersion into the host university culture.

As markets and economies evolve, we view study abroad as a crucial piece of a student’s résumé. The skill set that a student develops during an overseas academic experience speaks to the creativity, initiative, motivation, maturity, and independence that it takes to pursue study abroad—all the qualities a potential employer may be looking for. Our office works closely with the Center for Professional and Career Readiness during the pre-departure advisement period and post-program follow-up, guiding students through the process of taking their academic experience and weaving it into a professional asset.

The programs we offer are compatible with the foreign languages taught on campus—Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and Arabic. Other non-English speaking sites include India, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, Argentina, and Switzerland. Additionally, we have many destinations in English-speaking countries, such as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and England. Our newest SBU program is offered in collaboration with the Fr. Mychal Judge Center, and is a semester program at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In the study abroad advisement process, we look for two factors to be solidified. One very important factor to you, as parents, is the financial. The financial aid audit forms the basis for this discussion. I evaluate the aid package through the lens of the cost of education here at SBU for one semester. We allow students to use federal aid on all semester programs and TAP (NYS) for some programs. Institutional monies cannot travel with students, but to offset the loss of SBU funds, we work closely with students to identify endowed, partner, outside, and local community sources of additional funding. We also work with students to apply for a number of federal scholarships the U.S. government offers for study abroad. Most of our programs are affordable and some are actually about half the cost of a semester at SBU.

The academic portion of the study abroad advisement process involves the academic audit that lays out the course plan for the degree. It is conveniently divided so that we can look at courses for the major, Clare College courses, peripheral requirements related to the major, and electives. We strive to find a program suited to those elements of the degree, and also work to build a schedule that would closely mirror the student’s campus schedule for that semester.

Most program requirements include a 2.5 overall GPA; some more competitive universities require a 3.0 GPA for consideration. Students are expected to maintain a full course load; grades earned abroad are posted to their SBU transcripts and calculated as part of the overall GPA. This conveys the message that study abroad is a complement to their on-campus coursework and is recorded as such.

If you have specific questions about our programs, you can check our site, contact me via e-mail: or call me at 716-375-2574.  We also host two Facebook pages:  Bonnies Abroad and St. Bonaventure Study Abroad. If you plan to be on campus any time, I am happy to have a cup of La Verna coffee with you and chat about our students’and your student’s experiences.

Alice Farris Sayegh
Director, International Studies

Two students currently studying abroad share their experiences

Perugia, Italy
Spending a semester of my junior year anywhere but at St. Bonaventure University was something I never thought I would consider.  I loved being at school, loved my roommates and our townhouse, and didn’t want to miss out on attending basketball games or enjoying my daily routine on campus. However, I’m so glad I did consider it, because it led me to Perugia, Italy, where I’ve been for the past three months.

Last semester, I saw flyers around school about the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Perugia while earning credits at. St. Bonaventure. My parents and I thought the opportunity would be very worthwhile. I attended an interest meeting, applied to the program, got accepted and started applications for my visa and permit of stay documentation.

Soon after, six Bona students were booking flights to Rome. Anticipation for the trip made the fall semester fly by.  And now here I am, writing this article from the kitchen in my apartment in the city of Perugia.

Arriving in Italy, I definitely experienced the term “culture-shock,” which I never thought would be so frustrating.  This is my first time in Europe and my first time spending more than a week in a country where English is not the first language. Getting used to walking on sometimes treacherous and steep cobblestone sidewalks, switching from dollars to euros, pushing doors open instead of pulling, bagging my own groceries while a line grows behind me and blowing countless fuses in our apartment were little things I never considered, but quickly experienced.

The language barrier was, and sometimes still is, a struggle, but my Italian skills have definitely improved.  For the first week, all students were put in an Intensive Italian course to teach us basic words and show us where and how to grocery shop (“don’t touch produce without gloves on!”), buy train tickets and order coffee at a bar (or “cafè” as we call it in the U.S.).

I am taking four classes and a daily beginner Italian class Monday through Thursday.  The Umbra Institute, where I attend school, does not hold classes on Friday, so students take advantage of all modes of transportation including planes, trains, buses and even ferries, to get around to other Italian cities or European countries. 

My roommates here are two Bonaventure sophomores. We have taken trips to Pisa to climb the Leaning Tower and to Florence for a field trip with our Food History class. We recently returned from a 10-day spring break which took us to Ireland, England and France.  I have upcoming trips with my Roman Civilization and Daily Life and Archaeological Discoveries classes to Pompeii, Naples, and Rome, where we will actually be able to see what we have been learning about in class.

Being in Italy and traveling to other European countries is something I may have never experienced if not for this study abroad program.  Here, I start each day knowing I am immersed in a completely different culture, but it’s a culture I have grown to love. It’s great being able to experience the cultures of everywhere I’ve been; I know I am lucky to be able to do so.  Although I do miss SBU and the people there, and my family in Syracuse, this study abroad program to Perugia is something I will appreciate forever.

-Claire Mangine
Class of 2013

Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Studying abroad is a great experience for anyone. Having the opportunity to study in another country “enriches a student’s knowledge and provides a new view of the world and its many cultures.”

I chose to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina because I wanted to finish my Spanish minor and wanted to speak the language fluently.

Once I arrived in Buenos Aires, I was overwhelmed with the language barrier. I met my host mother, Corina, and she was very excited to see me. I found out that the university I am attending, Universidad de Belgrano, is three blocks away from my homestay. Within a few weeks, I began to feel more comfortable with the language because much of my daily life involved speaking Spanish.

I also had to adapt to Argentine customs. For example, on my second day, I ate lunch with a couple of friends. The plates, glasses, and silverware were set on the table. When the waiter brought our individual bottles of water and soda (many restaurants in Argentina do not have soda or water dispensers), we drank straight out of the bottle. One of the natives stopped us and said, “In Argentina, we do not drink out of the bottle; we pour it in a glass.” Since then, I have noticed every time someone buys a bottle of water, soda or juice, he or she will be offered a straw or a glass.

One thing I like about Buenos Aires is that there are many things to see and do. Traveling is not difficult and is inexpensive. Many Argentines take the “subte” (subway), “colectivo” (bus) or the train. The tickets cost no more than three pesos (less than id=mce_marker). Each type of transportation can take you to an unforgettable location such as La Boca, Plaza de Mayo or the “Casa Rosada.” “Casa Rosada” means Pink House; it is where the president of Argentina resides and is similar to the White House in the United States. One thing that many of the Argentines love to do is to travel to Iguazu Falls in Brazil. I have traveled to Iguazu Falls and it is magnificent and is much bigger than Niagara Falls.

Attending classes at Universidad de Belgrano is very different from attending classes at Bonaventure. My classes are very late in the afternoon and the majority of the professors I have do not speak English. At first, it was difficult because I had never had classes that were taught in another language but after a month I am getting used to it and I enjoy it very much. Like professors at St. Bonaventure University, the professors at Universidad de Belgrano care about their students and they also understand international students may be learning a new language. So, they will take the time to speak Spanish slowly or at a moderate pace.

I love the city of Buenos Aires. If I had another opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires or another country, I would take it. Studying abroad has given me another view of the world and has opened many doors for me.

-Ariana Harvin-Mahiques
Class of 2013

Ways to get involved on campus

St. Bonaventure University may be a campus of only 2,500 students, but our campus life is anything but small.  If your student is looking for something more to do with her spare time, suggest that she get in touch with the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership (CARL).

The majority of St. Bonaventure’s students, including 96 percent of freshmen, live on campus. CARL members work hard to make sure they always have something fun to do.

“We’ve got intramural sports, spiritual life, leadership and service activities,” said Steve Kuchera, assistant director of CARL, “but it’s up to the students to get involved.”

Even if your child feels she can’t add anything this year, she should consider CARL for her return in the fall.

“You learn so much by being a part of CARL,” Kuchera said, “and you get to be a part of something while having fun.”

Working with CARL is the Campus Activity Board (CAB), which decides what events happen on and off campus.

Beyond CAB and CARL, the University has more than 60 organizations. The Student Government Association (SGA), for example, serves as the students’ liaison with faculty and administration. Groups like the Latin American Student Organization, Asian Students in Action and the Black Student Union provide support to students in those groups and insight into those cultures for other students. Other groups offer a chance to pursue interests ranging from the arts to service to academics.

Intramural sports are another great way for students to make new friends as well as keep fit. Students may choose from basketball, dodge ball, soccer, volleyball, hockey and golf. If a student is interested in a sport not currently offered, Kuchera said she simply has to notify CARL director Rob DeFazio, provide a list of interested students and ask to add the sport to the intramural list.

Kuchera says parents who have any questions about what activities are available on campus or what to do on campus may contact him at

If your student still hasn’t found her niche at St. Bonaventure, encourage her to take a stroll to RC 208, and she’ may be shocked by all the possibilities.  

-Cristabell Ramdial
Class of 2013

Go Bonnies!

Cheer on the women's basketball team in the Sweet 16!

St. Bonaventure (31-3) is in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. 

The Bonnies will play Notre Dame, the No. 1 seed in the region, on Sunday at 2:30 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. If you're not cheering on the Bonnies live in Raleigh, you can view the game on ESPN2.

Upcoming Events
Through Tuesday, 3/27 - Bogside Artists
Through Saturday, 3/24 - SBU Theater presents Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Friday, 3/23 - "The Next New Generation of Leadership" - Leadership talk by University Trustee Bill Purcell
Friday, 3/23 -  "From Bona's to the Big Apple: SBU Visual Arts Alumna to Speak about Prestigious Christie's Program and the New York Art World"
Tuesday, 3/27 - “Write On, Sister! How Incarcerated Women Use Writing to Reclaim and Define Their Power and Identity,” presented by Breea Willingham
Wednesday, 3/28 - John Kaltner presents "Mary the Muslim: The Mother of Jesus in Islam"
Friday, 3/30 - PANORAMICOS - Chamber Music Ensemble from Cleveland
Thursday, 4/5 - Monday, 4/9 - Easter/Spring Break - UIniversity Closed
Thursday, 4/5 - Holy Thursday Mass at Mt. Irenaeus
Friday, 4/6 - Good Friday Service at Mt. Irenaeus
Saturday, 4/7 - Easter Vigil at Mt. Irenaeus
Sunday, 4/8 - Easter Sunday Mass at Mt. Irenaeus
Wednesday, 4/11 - SBU Step Team Step Show

Wednesday, 4/11 - Campus Reading with poet, short-story writer and critic Peter Makuck
Thursday, 4/12 - Spring Concert - Blackout Forever Tour Featuring Breathe Carolina and The Ready Set
Suday, 4/11 - SBU Band and Choir Concert


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