SRU’s dedication to Rock-solid education doesn’t stop when the university goes on break. In fact, it simply boards a plane and flies, providing students with rewarding international experiences all over the world, from Costa Rica to Rome.
Students in all majors, including communication, information technology and education, went on a multitude of trips across the globe with their peers and professors.
They experienced classic tourist attractions, learned about new cultures and were able to develop new skills based on real-life companies and agencies.
One such student was senior marketing and management major Abby Fugh who traveled to Ireland with Dr. Nightingale and students in the college of business. Fugh, who is also earning a minor in information systems, said this spring break trip was enlightening, as every trip through SRU is.
“We had the opportunity when we were there to visit European offices of Microsoft, Dell and PayPal, which were probably the coolest part of the trip,” Fugh said. “The really cool part of it was getting to see their business practices and how they’re transforming the workplace.”
She mentioned that PayPal in particular is focused on putting the employee at the forefront of their concerns, with a large, warehouse-style office that includes ergonomic workspaces and mental health facilities onsite.
“I felt really motivated because you’re able to connect with 40-year-old men and women who are making their mark on the world,” Fugh said.
Along with the education-oriented experiences, the group of business majors also toured attractions like the Temple Bar in Dublin, the Titanic museum in Belfast and the Cliffs of Mohr.
Fugh said she wanted to go because she has Irish heritage, and when she was young, her family familiarized her with Irish music and the culture that went with it. Another reason she chose to go to Ireland over the other trips available was due to the large list of places she’s already been.
“It was kinda cool, seeing things I grew up listening to,” Fugh said. “And I was checking another box on my bucket list.”
Through SRU, Fugh has also traveled to London, Italy and Jamaica, among others. Fugh recently had an interview for a job after graduation, and she said her travel experience added a lot of value to her resume and her interview, as she was able to hold an intelligent conversation with her interviewer about different international cultures.
“There is no amount of money in the world that should deter you from taking this experience while you’re young,” Fugh said. “I could talk forever about how great of an opportunity it is.”
Western Europe was populated with Slippery Rock green and white, thanks to Dr. Nightingale as well as professor of communication Dr. Strahler, who took a group of students in his Social Media class to London, England.
Among the students on this trip was senior public relations major Mallory Manz, who had previously traveled to Denmark on a trip led by professor of communication Dr. Peiritsch. On Dr. Strahler’s trip, his students were able to set up meetings with different agencies in order to perform case studies; Manz mentioned that, in Denmark, the meetings were set up for the students, but in London, the students had to go about it themselves. Manz and her group met with a digital communication agency called eight&four.
“[The agency] was really interesting and carefree, and it was right in the heart of London,” Manz said.
Manz’s favorite part of traveling abroad is seeing and experiencing new cities and new cultures, and seeing the cities lit up at night.
“Seeing the city, the Tower of London lit up was really cool,” Manz said.
In preparation for the trip, Manz said Dr. Strahler incorporated the city of London into his curriculum, and the students were able to learn about the city and the culture before actually boarding the plane and flying into a new country.
“It helped week by week leading up to it, and it got us really excited to go,” Manz said.
Dr. Peiritsch provided her students in Case Studies with the opportunity to travel again this year, taking communication majors to Denmark. Rocky Vasconi, senior integrated marketing communication and professional Spanish dual major said this was his second time traveling to Copenhagen; he loves the Scandinavian culture and the city of Copenhagen itself. He enjoyed his trips so much that he made a spontaneous decision to tattoo an outline of Denmark on his arm as a permanent reminder of his trip.
“Copenhagen is one of my favorite places and I was super fortunate to be able to experience it again through Slippery Rock,” Vasconi said. “It’s such a cute and historic city that everyone needs to experience.”
Vasconi said he learned a lot during his trip, especially about the history of the city and the culture in Copenhagen. The group of communication students went on walking tours, canal tours and went on professional site visits of companies in Denmark, such as Pandora Jewelers.
“We got to sit down and talk to one of their directors of PR,” Vasconi said. “It was awesome, however we didn’t walk out of there with any free jewelry.”
Traveling abroad, especially with SRU and the faculty members who lead these trips, is something Vasconi, as well as Manz and Fugh, praises highly.
“You learn how to appreciate other cultures, you learn how to deal with stressful situations, you learn how to budget, you make new friends and meet so many new people that it’s impossible to not learn something,” Vasconi said. “What I’ve gained in life experiences through these trips is invaluable.”