As more than 500 first year students at Arcadia unpacked boxes after moving in to campus on Friday, Aug. 23, a select group geared up for their first semester at Arcadia—in London, England, and Stirling, Scotland, as part of the University’s First Year Study Abroad Experience.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m going to Europe and I’m going to be there for four months, but I’m really excited to get on the plane and go,” said Magdalen Scheffield ’17 from Pemberton, N.J., who is leaving the East Coast for the first time. “The world is at my fingertips.”
Boarding a charter bus in the late afternoon sun, 37 freshman left Glenside, Pa., on Aug. 26 to spend their first semester in Europe. Twenty-three students will join Scheffield in London, and 13 other students will head to Stirling.
“I just hope to grow as a person and understand the world better,” said Maria Alegria ’17, who feels prepared through Arcadia’s programs for her time in London.
The students have received study abroad mentoring since they were accepted into the program. They also were involved in a summer orientation program and will continue to receive support abroad.
“These students have already set themselves apart as leaders at Arcadia and hopefully beyond,” said Jan Finn, associate dean for international affairs. “This program helps them to get a head start on what we want them to be, which is a global citizen upon graduation.”
Even though the students were leaving to go abroad, they still participated in the Monday’s Day of Service, where first year students engage the surrounding communities to give back and bond.
For instance, Nicole Meyer ’17, a commuter student from nearby Blue Bell, Pa. who still wanted to have the feeling of “going away” for college, said FYSAE presented her with the perfect chance. “I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity,” she said, while putting the final touches on her clay piece for the Empty Bowl event that she will miss while abroad.
“After 10 years and almost 800 students, every single one of them has said this is a transformative program,” said Bill Meiers, associate dean of the Honors program at Arcadia. “They’re going to be forced to grow and get out of their comfort zone.”
Political science student John Borrelli ’17, who is looking forward to studying in one of the cultural centers of the world, London, acknowledged that FYSAE is going to be a time of growth, saying “I think I’ll become more independent from having to get to classes on the Tube and even just doing my own laundry.”