Postcards from 2023 Scranton Intersession

University students who participated in domestic and international Intersession trips share their experiences.
Moira Courtney '23 was among University students, shown, who participated during Intersession in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Jerusalem, Israel. The group, Theology/Religious Studies 296: Christianity in the Middle East is shown at Hisham's Palace.
Moira Courtney '23 was among University students, shown, who participated during Intersession in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Jerusalem, Israel. The group, Theology/Religious Studies 296: Christianity in the Middle East is shown at Hisham's Palace.

Two Intersession domestic service trips were organized by the Center For Service and Social Justice from Jan. 15-21. One group traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, where they collaborated with The Saint Bernard Project to build and renovate homes devastated by hurricanes. The second group visited Missoula, Montana, where they volunteered with the Hope Rescue Mission and the Poverello Center homeless shelters and temporary housing agencies.

Domestic service inspires future volunteerism

"This is Scranton’s first trip to Missoula!" said Mia Sandy, '23, of Scranton, who served as a peer facilitator on the trip to rural Montana.

Sandy, a senior Counseling and Human Services (CHS) major, said she helped the group with advance preparation, including several fundraising events to offset trip expenses.

"For me, it was really important to have an understanding of the community we were going to engage with, so I did a lot of reading on rural poverty and I researched the agencies we are working with this week. I have also been working closely with Avianna to prepare for the trip and to prepare my group for the trip," said Sandy, referencing Avianna Carilli '22, coordinator of domestic and international service programs for the Center for Service and Social Justice.



"We had a few meetings in the fall semester in addition to fundraising events, so the group really had to be committed to this experience," said Sandy, shown above, far right, with members of the group that traveled to Montana.

She heard about the Domestic and International trips as a first-year student through a Reflective Service Program called FIRST, then shared stories and experiences of other students encouraged her to participate.

Sandy's travels have motivated her toward service to others in the future.

"I am currently in the accelerated Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program on campus, but I have been exploring an opportunity to do a year of service in Arizona. I am not sure where I will be next year, but I know that I will be participating in some form of service and trying to spread the Scranton love to whoever I meet," Sandy said.

More than 150 students experience education abroad

Approximately 150 students participated in trips abroad during Intersession, according to Associate Director of Global Education Kara Kofira Bishop.

January Intersession programs through the Office of Global Education included trips to:

AIFS Barcelona, Spain
AIFS Granada, Spain
AIFS Rome, Italy
AIFS Paris, France
AIFS London, UK
AIFS Germany, Berlin
Sacred Heart University Dingle, Ireland 

Their faculty-led programs included: 

T/RS 296 Christianity in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Israel)
BIOL 296 Terrestrial Tropical Ecology (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador)
HAD 595 South America Health Systems (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
NURS 496 Healthcare Systems and Nursing Practice Abroad (Dublin, Ireland)
PS 296 Irish Political Culture (Dublin, Ireland)
ENTR 481 Global Practicum (Paris, France)


Moira Courtney '23, Kinesiology-PT and Philosophy major from Hamilton, New Jersey was among students who participated in a Faculty-led Study Abroad trip to Jerusalem, Israel with Theology/Religious Studies 296: Christianity in the Middle East.

"I really wanted the opportunity to learn more about my faith while exploring the Holy Land, which I’ve heard so much about. Especially with the ongoing occupation, my interest in this area has been growing; I have been seeking to connect faith and social justice," said Courtney. 

"Our group has explored Holy sites, local churches, and some of the beautiful cities of Palestine.  During these tours we have been discussing the importance of religion in the region, as well as the current occupation. We have gotten the opportunity to discuss these important topics with individuals who experience the effects on a daily basis," she added.  

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Ariana Isayiw, sophomore Kinesiology major, shown above, participated in the Sacred Heart University study abroad winter 2023 session in Dingle, Ireland from Dec. 28 through Jan.12.

"I was able to celebrate New Year's in Dingle! I took a three-credit class while abroad that fulfilled my theology elective at Scranton. I was assigned housing in a cute cottage on the Dingle harbor. I had a great view from my front walkway and was even able to see the fireworks show on New Year’s Eve from the front door!" 

Isayiw offered insight into the course and the program. 

"I loved being able to fully immerse myself in the Irish culture for those two weeks while also taking a class. The course included a mix of in-class lecture and field trips to local religious sites.

The study abroad program itself included activities for us to participate in outside of class such as a cookery class, horseback riding on the coast, a bus tour (with a stop to hold a baby sheep!), and a day trip to Killarney. We also had a few group dinners with our professor, class, and the other students in the program.
The locals were all very welcoming and the professors were excited to have us in their classes and loved showing us around town and teaching us about their culture.

I truly enjoyed my time in Dingle and would recommend the program to anyone looking for a short term study abroad experience!" 

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