On Friday, March 3, six groups of Montclair State students departed from the Red Hawk Deck and headed to the airport to spend the duration of their spring break studying abroad.
Each group was sent off to one of the following locations: Graz, Austria; London, England; Rome, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden; or Zagreb, Croatia.
Morgan Bohn, a freshman majoring in graphic design, was excited to see all of the opportunities London had to offer in terms of furthering her knowledge in the aspects of art and design.
“I am looking forward to visiting all of London’s different graphic design studios,” said Bohn. “It will open up new ways to view art and design in other parts of the world.”
Bohn also said that taking up this chance to travel to London was a no-brainer because the pricing was great when taking all of the trip’s activities into consideration.
Each trip for this particular study abroad program was run entirely by faculty, and the duration of the trip was between eight or nine days.
Professor John Luthropp, who has worked as a designer, artist and educator for over 25 years, was the faculty leader in charge of the art and design trip to London.
“London has a long history of art and design, and their museums are great,” said Luthropp. “In addition, three of the museums we’ve went to on previous trips have expanded, and or moved to new locations, so that will be nice because that aspect will be new for me too.”
Along with students and faculty, parents were also at the Red Hawk Deck, seeing off their kids who would spend over a week in a foreign country.
Joyce Pignatelli, the mother of Daniel Pignatelli, a junior majoring in general humanities who is participating in the study abroad trip to Rome, was nothing but excited for her son to explore a city native to their family.
“My parents came from Rome,” said Pignatelli. “And I’ve never gotten a chance to go, so I am going to live vicariously through this experience there.”
Daniel Pignatelli also shared mutual excitement with his mother for his trip to Rome. Being a commuter student, he thought this was a great way to spend some time away from home while getting to simultaneously learn more about the home of his relatives.
“I expect to see a lot of cool places, eat a lot of good food, and enjoy some nice weather,” said Pignatelli.
While for many students this is their first time participating in Montclair State’s study abroad program, junior English major Rachel Belsky is adding her trip to Graz, Austria on the list of places she has already traveled to in Europe.
“I’ve traveled before, and have actually had the chance to travel to Rome through the study abroad program in the past,” said Belsky. “Studying abroad is so worth it in the end, because it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
This year’s trip to Graz is making history at Montclair State.
Montclair and Graz are sister cities, and have been exchanging students between the University of Graz and Montclair State University for years. However, exchanging students to Graz through a small group has never been done before, and this trip is the first of its kind at Montclair State.
Jason Frasca, a full-time faculty member at the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, said he is thrilled to be leading the first trip of a group of students to make their way to Graz, Austria through Montclair State’s entrepreneurial exchange program with the University of Graz.
“We’re calling it the first ‘annual’ trip to Graz,” said Frasca, “in the hopes that this is just the beginning.”
The students participating in this particular trip are also going to be a part of activities from April 17 to 23, when students from Graz will be in Montclair for continued joint workshops.