Park Scholars Reflect on their Study Abroad Trips
By: Qina Liu ’13
Senior Park Scholar Siobhan Cavanagh has not been on the Ithaca College campus for the past 11 months.
Instead, Cavanagh studied abroad last spring in India through the SIT World Learning Study Abroad Program and is studying in Los Angeles this semester through the Ithaca College Los Angeles Program.
“It was such a great time and a great experience that I would never have again if I wasn’t in this program and wasn’t in the Park Scholar Program,” she said.
In the past year, Cavanagh has learned Hindi, Rajasthani puppetry, Indian hospitality and where she wants to be after graduation. She has visited the Taj Mahal, Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign, the Rose Bowl Flea Market and Santa Monica. But she said she wouldn’t have had these experiences if not for the Park Scholar Program.
“I might have taken the opportunity to graduate earlier in order to pay for less schooling,” she said.
Cavanagh is one of the many scholars who take the opportunity to study abroad during college. This semester, junior Emily Nowels is studying abroad in Sienna, Italy, and junior Kyla Pigoni is also studying abroad in Los Angeles.
Pigoni, a journalism major from Geyserville, Calif., who is interning at Conan O’Brien Presents, said spending a semester in Los Angeles has given her the opportunity to network and explore the field she wanted to pursue.
“It has made me more excited for life after college,” she said. “Everyone talks about how scared they are for college to end, and while I'm sad about the idea, I'm eager to begin the job and apartment search and to move back to my home state.”
Junior Lauren Mateer, who studied abroad in London last spring and will be spending next spring in Spain, said studying abroad has also enriched her college experience.
“Study abroad was something I always wanted to do and was really important even when I was looking at colleges — that it be some place where they really encourage study abroad,” she said.
Mateer said London was a very rewarding introduction to European culture, but she is also looking forward to the cultural immersion an abroad opportunity in Spain would provide.
“I loved going to different places in England and I also loved being able to go to different countries,” she said.
Cavanagh said the cultural experiences were also what made the Indian puppeteers she met so memorable.
“There offered us sodas. They offered us water. They offered to give us lunch,” she said. “The fact that these people who could barely make ends meet were offering this to us still meant a lot. They were so honored to have us there and we were so honored to be there.”
While living in Los Angeles, Cavanagh said she buys Indian food and snacks to remind her of India. Meanwhile, her heart grows fonder for Ithaca.
“It is kind of hard being away for a year, but it’s going to be that much more exciting when I return and get to see all the Park Scholars again,” she said.