Peggy's Right on Study Abroad

Thank you to President Williams for her column “World Wide Web of Learning” about the importance of an international education. As an IC student I studied in Salamanca, Spain, for a semester and found it to be a life-altering experience. I have since turned that experience into a career in international education and founded a study abroad company in 1999 that has brought thousands of college students to Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, and England.

One of the things I have noticed since I studied abroad in 1993 is that students now see study abroad as a right and not as a privilege.  It is important for students to remember that they are in a unique position as American citizens and that citizens of many other countries are not afforded the same opportunity. For citizens of many countries even coming to the United States for a vacation is out of the question due to legal restrictions or the expense of having to get a travel visa.

I would encourage all Ithaca students to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, but to look at it as a chance to step outside of their comfort zone and to see how others live. Don’t go to simply experience life as an American abroad, but become part of the local culture and embrace their way of living. This will open your eyes in ways you never thought possible and, like me, might help you better identify what it is you want to do with your life.

Lee Frankel ’94

Editor's note: Lee Frankel really did find his Salamanca semester transformational. He founded and is director of programs for Academic Studies Abroad, which brings thousands of students every year to countries on three continents -- South America, Europe, and Australia. Lee himself remains fascinated with learning about other cultures and has traveled widely. The following is from ASA's website: "

While at Ithaca College as an undergraduate, Lee spent a semester in Salamanca, Spain, where he decided that studying abroad was the single most important part of his college experience. When he returned, he began recruiting other students to go abroad and managed to turn it into a career. Lee's favorite part of his job is watching each student grow and mature in such a short time while abroad. In between his constant travel to Europe, Lee plays drums in a band in Boston and boogie boards wherever there are waves. Lee and his wife, Jessica, are also the proud parents of Zachary, who is 3, and Amelia, who was born on Dec. 30, 2007."

You can reach Lee at