Exploring the World
Adam LeClerc, Jesse Simonson, and Amanda Kershaw
AMC student, Adam LeClerc, likes taking risks. A business major, he is enjoying his investment class learning about how you can double your income depending on your investment strategies, and your willingness to take risks.
Adam grew up in Leominster, MA and chose Anna Maria because of its proximity to home and small campus. His interest in the College was piqued even more when he found out that he had been accepted to the Honors Program. “I knew that I wanted to attend AMC but when I learned about the Honors Program and the opportunity to study abroad, I became much more enthusiastic about my choice,” shares Adam.
For Adam, trip to Vienna in the fall of 2010 was his first opportunity to travel abroad. “I have always wanted to travel and experience life beyond Massachusetts,” he explains.
According to Adam, the time he spent in Vienna “changed me.” He took a risk and found that the experience of living amongst people from a different culture was an education in itself. “In addition to meeting Austrians, we met students from all over Europe, who provided us with insights into other cultures and other ways of living. It really broadened my perspective,” comments Adam.
Studying abroad also helped Adam form strong bonds with his fellow AMC students. “There was no library nearby so we had to rely on one another and the Internet to complete our coursework,” he adds. Adam particularly enjoyed the Core Class he took with Professor James Bidwell, who taught the class remotely from Paxton, in real time, to students at AMC and in Vienna.
Adam hopes to travel more in the future, perhaps to places like China and Japan so he can learn about their business systems first-hand.
Jesse Simonson heard about AMC growing up in Leicester, MA. He became convinced that the College was the right fit for him when he toured the campus and saw all of the changes. “The new vision being led by Dr. Calareso is doing great things for Anna Maria,” states Jesse. “The new residence hall, parking lot and field are making a real difference for students.”
Jesse is majoring in criminal justice and psychology. He plays on the golf team with a seven handicap. When first approached about the study abroad opportunity, he figured it would be a great vacation. He never imagined that the trip would turn into one of the best experiences of his life. “The trip abroad has really helped shape my life,” shares Jesse. “Learning about other cultures and seeing how you react to different situations has a tremendous impact on how you view the world.”
Along with the other students, Jesse studied German before and during the trip. “I was pleased that my German improved so that I could actually use snippets of the language to communicate,” he comments.
Adam points to Dr. Paul Russell for making the experience more than anyone expected. “Because Dr. Russell has traveled to Vienna for a number of years, he has a great social network that we could all plug into. He knew the best places to dine and where to buy souvenirs,” says Adam. “We had great dinners with him and also with Dr. Calareso when he and his wife joined us for a few days. They made the trip very special.”
Adam is already creating his own network overseas. He made a connection with students from Madrid and hopes to visit them in the future. “Europe is the cradle of society and a great place to learn and grow,” he adds.
When Amanda Kershaw was growing up in Granby, Massachusetts, she never imagined herself living for three months in a strange city with people she had only known for one year. In fact, she never really planned on going to school very far from home and had her sights set on Springfield College. “When I toured Anna Maria I realized how ‘at home’ I felt on campus. I am a bit of a bookworm so the small campus coupled with the opportunity to participate in the Honors Program definitely made AMC the right choice for me,” she states.
Amanda enjoyed the Honors Program but was nervous about starting a semester in a different country. “I had never left New England before except to visit Florida,” she shares. “The flight, the foreign language, everything about the trip seemed intimidating to me. I think I was the last one to join in,” she explains.
Apprehensive at first, Amanda believes that the trip provided her with the opportunity to gain a better perspective on other cultures and society as a whole. “The entire experience has given me more confidence, self esteem and a different outlook on life. If I can go to a strange place and survive for three months, I can do anything,” she quips.
Once she made the voyage abroad, Amanda didn’t stop at Vienna. She took a train to Rome for a long weekend. “It was amazing to wake up in Rome right across from the Coliseum. I was in awe as the history of this City and the world came alive around me,” she shares.
When she returned to the States, Amanda changed her major from business to early childhood education. “The trip to Vienna helped me to become more centered in my life. I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything.”