April 14, 2024

Studying Abroad – Outside the Gordon Classroom

Orvieto cohort enjoy a cafe break. Courtesy of Sydney Cooney.
By Vicki Franks ’20
Arts & Life Editor 

There are over 40 study-abroad programs offered by Gordon’s Global Education Department, and each semester, students are given the opportunity to venture out of Wenham and study in a brand new environment. This past semester, many students embraced the adventure and brought their studies all around the world for a few months. And now they’re back.

Experiences still fresh in their minds, interviewees were eager to share their about their time abroad.

“You’d be crazy not to go,” said Sydney Cooney (‘19) as she described her time in Gordon’s Orvieto, Italy program. When questioned as to what her favorite part of her semester there was, she laughed and asked me not to make her choose.

However, what the main highlight for Cooney came down to was the people.

She was one of the 7 Gordon students in a cohort of 12 living in and taking classes in a renovated convent owned by the college.

“This program’s been running for almost 20 years, so [the faculty] really know how to ease the students in with the jet lag, culture shock, and everything. They are always so kind and welcoming,” she said.

She described the town of Orvieto as “very safe,” and the locals all being familiar with Gordon College, as well as the semesterly influx of students in the town.

A little closer to home, two Gordon students, Daniel Barclay (‘19) and Corrinne Palmer (‘18), spent their Fall semester on the West Coast at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC). Both are Communication Arts majors looking to go into the filmmaking industry one way or another once they graduate.

“LA is the pinnacle of the film industry in America, and any chance to get to study and go out there, and to get an advanced knowledge of the equipment and careers out there [meant that] I had to go” said Barclay, an aspiring film editor, “It was a program made for me and people like me.”  

At LAFSC, students had access to top filmmaking equipment and were given the opportunity to network with program alumni currently working in LA. Each student was required to get an internship, so that they could get some real-life experience in their field while they were studying in Hollywood.

“I felt like it would give me experience I couldn’t get at Gordon,” Palmer said.

“And it definitely was. Also it was something to get me away from the normal. I’d never been cross country, so it was sort of an adventure.”

Study abroad opens a world of new opportunities for students, and is an experience with life-changing impacts. As students who were abroad last semester settle back into Gordon life,  their eyes remain open to those possibilities.

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