Fairleigh Dickinson University, Wroxton campus view. Photo by: Liana Cincotti
By Megan Santry & Erin McPherson
After two years of Covid lock downs and restrictions, the study abroad program returns to Merrimack College.
Merrimack partnered with the US university, Fairleigh Dickinson to bring students to the UK. Fairleigh Dickinson owns their own campus in Wroxton which is where the students are living and studying this semester. This is not the first time Merrimack has partnered with Fairleigh Dickinson.
From 2012 to 2017 students from Merrimack were able to go to the Wroxton campus in the summer to study abroad. The 2022/2023 academic year is the first time Merrimack students are able to study on the Wroxton campus for a full semester.
“I know that President Hopey wanted to be very strategic about reopening the study abroad flood gates and this was a program that we knew about,” said Ellen Mcwhorter, Director of the Honors Program and English Professor at Merrimack. President Hopey and staff feel comfortable sending Merrimack students to Wroxton due to their previous partnership together.
Three of the 24 students studying at the Wroxton campus during the Fall semester are from Merrimack. One of them is senior Liana Cincotti.
“I had numerous high expectations for studying abroad and they all have been exceeded. I’ve traveled to three different countries in the span of one month, and if that does not sum up how incredible this experience is, then I don’t know what will,” Cincotti said.
Even though there are only three Merrimack students in Wroxton this semester, Cincotti said it’s been a great opportunity to meet new people. Cincotti and the two other Merrimack students came to the program as friends, but have made many new friendships with Fairleigh Dickinson students.
Within the program the students have the opportunity to participate in all-inclusive trips to Wales, Scotland, and Paris. These trips are built into the tuition, the goal is to have the semester cost the same as a normal school semester at Merrimack, the only complications students have faced was Federal Aid.
“The idea is that it doesn’t cost you more to go over there, it costs you the same,” said McWhorter.
Although Merrimack has built in these inclusive trips, students still have the time and the opportunity to travel to other countries at their own expense. Cincotti has planned trips to Ireland and Italy while she’s abroad.
Priority to study abroad is given to honors students, but everyone is welcome to apply and Merrimack will help make it work for everyone, even a second semester senior. Generally 25-35 students are accepted into the program, including both Fairleigh Dickinson and Merrimack students.
“Trying to get my credits to transfer over was the most difficult part regarding getting into the program since I’m a senior double majoring. But I knew I wanted to make it work, so it involved some extra summer classes, an independent study, and amazing advisors like Dr. McWhorter,” said Cincotti.
A unique aspect of this study abroad program is that the courses follow the British education model. The campus is staffed by British faculty, though in previous semesters Merrimack has sent their own faculty to teach a couple of courses.
During the school week, students have one hour of group work with classmates as well as adequate one-on-one time with their professor. According to Cincotti the students and faculty are knowledgeable and adventurous, making it impossible for her to not have fun.
This fall semester, the program offered fourteen courses, allowing students to choose four or five courses from these options. As the majority of courses offered are Liberal Arts, the program still offers some business and STEM classes to keep students on the right track to meeting their graduation requirements.
Merrimack has been researching more study abroad opportunities for students, as they want to expand the study abroad program. McWhorter said with certainty that Italy is being investigated for the coming academic years.
Merrimack is looking for a program similar to the one in Wroxton, as the program has been well received by students and faculty.
Not only are students residing in Wroxton for fall semester, but Merrimack is bringing students over again for the spring 2023 semester. No plans have been finalized for any semester after spring of 2023 however, the future of Merrimack’s study abroad program looks promising for additional opportunities.