Anselmians Abroad

Quick: What are the last two words of the Saint Anselm College mission statement? Give up? Join the rest of us. But if by some change you would have guessed "global communities" you would not only have been correct, you would have begun to understand why, from London to Dubai, from Zambia to Shanghai, and from Honduras to Kyrgyzstan, and ports beyond and between, Anselmians are everywhere. They may have called the Hilltop home once upon a time, but today hundreds of Saint Anselm graduates — spanning decades, professions, and nearly every academic major — now make up a global network that reflects their alma mater's mission and shows just how far hawks can soar!

Anselmians abroadEngland


EamonnAfter 20 years in London, Eamonn ’87 and Theresa (Tovet) ’88 Sullivan are still asked “Where are you from?” He notes “We’ve kept our accents, unlike our kids!”

A history major, Eamonn is an editor at Bloomberg. His British editors used to ask whether Americans would understand a phrase or word but he admits “I’m less able to answer that as British English became more familiar to me. I say ‘rubbish’ instead of trash and ‘loo’ instead of bathroom.”

But driving is another story: “When commuting on my motorcycle, squeezing between a black cab and a double decker bus, on the left side of the road, I sometimes think, would I have imagined my life now, back when I was going to Saint Anselm? Not in a million years!”

A nursing major, Theresa works as a chemotherapy nurse in Great Britain’s National Health System. She loves living across the pond, where “public transport is terrific and the whole of Europe is easily accessible.” She also likes London’s diversity: “Living abroad has given me a mixture of two world views. When I get to know someone from another culture, it impresses me that we’re really very much the same.”

“After a temporary stay in London of six to nine months, I quickly found out how much I enjoyed the lifestyle in the UK and extended my assignment for three years.”

Christine McKeown ’91
Brown Brothers Harriman

Singapore


JennaJenna (Porter) Nagy ’06 moved to Singapore for her husband’s job, but “Once our bags were unpacked, I got involved in the start-up operations of Image Mission, a nonprofit that runs the first Dress for Success
in Asia promoting economic independence for disadvantaged women in Singapore.” An accounting major, she’s on the board leading operations and finance.

Jenna describes Singapore as an island city-state about 1/6 the size of Rhode Island:

“Within a few subway stops, we discovered historic Chinatown, buzzing Little India, picturesque Malay enclave, the ultra- modern businesses, high-end shops, and ‘hawker centers’ for a plate of chicken rice.”

Like the Sullivans, the Nagys are expatriates—people who live outside their native country— although their daughter was born in Singapore. Still, Jenna says “The authentic Singaporean experiences are all there, and the more I take part, the more I feel ‘native.’”

A semester in London changed her perspective. “Had I not taken the leap and studied abroad, I would have had a much harder time pushing myself out of my comfort zone to live abroad today.”

India


MelissaMelissa Delury ’10 returns to India this fall with an exciting chapter to an already-exotic life. She has been awarded two Fulbright scholarships to research “Exploring the Effectiveness of the Indian Right to Education Act (RTE) in the State of Madhya Pradesh” and to study Hindi.

In 2012, Melissa taught English in an orphanage and primary school in Goa, India. Now with Fulbright support, she’ll travel to rural areas to uncover barriers preventing children from attending schools. “India places a high importance on education. I’ll be working with Dr. Nirmala Menon, a former English professor at Saint A’s.”

Delury’s international orientation began upon graduation as a history major. “I interned for No Peace Without Justice, a human rights organization at the U.N. It was great experience to attend Security Council meetings and write grants for funding, [but] needing international experience, I moved to India to work in schools. Education has the potential to increase dialogue and mutual understanding, which in turn, promotes peaceful societies.”

Australia


“After storms, one of the most poisonous spiders in the world will climb into our swimming pool. But there’s anti-venom everywhere. And for the record: We don’t drink Foster’s. It’s not even available here!”

Charlie Cote ’92
I.T. Sales

Canada


MegNorth of Seattle, Wash., Meg Comiskey ’77 has dual U.S.- Canadian citizenship and manages the Vancouver Airport Authority. She is enthusiastic about the international diversity of Greater Vancouver.

“In my experience, most people embrace the multitude of cultures here. Canada uses the term ‘multiculturalism,’ which means that it embraces everyone’s culture and they get added to Canadian culture. We have festivals ranging from Irish St. Patrick’s Day parades to Caribbean food fests to Chinese Dragon Board racing.”

Meg notes Vancouver International Airport has changed dramatically in her time there. “Today, Vancouver has more service from Chinese air carriers than any airport in North America or Europe. We have gone from service to just Beijing and Shanghai to serving 12 destinations in China. As our market changed, so did the passenger terminal. One example is dynamic signage that changes language based on the flights arriving at particular gates; Korean at one moment and Chinese the next. We have 500 ‘Green Coat’ volunteers who collectively speak over 30 languages helping passengers.”

A history major, Meg spent her junior year in Heidelberg, Germany. “That probably helped instill my love of travel and exploring new places.”

Dubai


“I met my then future wife, who is Danish, during a semester abroad in France. So, first stop was Copenhagen, Denmark, but now we all love living in Dubai! I have 3 young daughters in primary school here.”

Tom O’Reilly ’02
EMC-Dell

France


Tim and ChantalTim ’03 and Chantal (Goodno) Cole ’04 moved to France with three very young children. “Everything is an adventure,” says Tim. “Almost any task carries with it an amazing sense of accomplishment. Some days, grocery shopping is a little too much of an adventure. I have the easy job of just going to work every day,” he says with a nod to Chantal, a biology major.

A business major who studied abroad in Ireland, Tim covers 112 countries as a Division V.P. for ADP, “but the center of our universe is our children’s school, home to students from 35 countries. This has been perhaps the biggest upside, maybe only second to our friends. At ‘international day,’ families displayed a table of their local food and customs. I was eating Israeli, Argentinian and Chinese food, enjoying Dutch beer (American ran out), seeing a kid get a henna tattoo… Those aren’t things I foresaw. When we drive to Church around the Arc de Triomphe, we have a moment of ‘I can’t believe this is real.’”

“Living the life of an expat is like floating down a river with a foot in two canoes and trying to balance. This experience makes me more culturally aware. We love our outdoor markets, the best bread and cheese, amazing wine for $7 a bottle. But why don’t they have peanut butter? And mopeds have the right of way, ALWAYS.”

Becoming Citizens of the World

The Office of International Programs provides Saint Anselm students with many opportunities to study abroad; whether traditional semester-long programs or short-term, faculty-led Global Seminars. The college also offers a program in Orvieto, where Anselmians live, learn, and explore Italy’s Umbria region. Read more »

Ghana


Jessica Lawrence ’99 works at an international school in Ghana. Abroad for 10 years, she went from the United Arab Emirates, to China, and to Africa: Ethiopia, in the east, and now Ghana in the west with 18 countries in between. An English major, Jessica says “We are all ambassadors for our countries” and explains “Some expats have trouble with the slowness of life here, or the seemingly disorganized way of doing things, but for me, it’s no problem.”

In Ghana, “I’m familiar with the way people are here (smiling, warmth and laughter goes a long way); I know what questions are appropriate. There are still many places where you’re someone who is so foreign that they just want to touch you.”

“From the dress of men and women, to the green lushness of the land, to the stacks of multiple items on street hawkers’ heads, this world is colorful. The natural beauty drew me here, from the turquoise beaches of Mombasa, to the savannas of Tanzania, to the red deserts of Namibia, to the animals in Zambia. We spent the night there in a tree house without a roof. While setting up mosquito nets, I heard an elephant breathing below us. There he was, curiously looking up at us.”

Hong Kong


“With 7.3 million people in 1,064 square miles, they know how to deliver density here; it’s less dependent on the automobile. It’s a fast-paced, urban, multi- cultural/lingual place.”

John Fitzgerald ’92
Urban Land Institute

China


James Flaherty ’12 traveled to Beijing for a master’s in international relations (his major at Saint Anselm). There, he was the only American among a dozen students in his Peking University program. “I’m drawn to radically different things,” he admits; but despite a college semester in Shanghai, James says “China was a shocking 180 degree turn from the U.S. It’s amazing how quickly things change there. If I left for only a month, stores I frequented were gone–replaced! Shanghai had blue skies but it became like a snow globe between smoking and air pollution.” Still, James says “the China experience has stuck with me for the rest of my life.” He’s now the Scholars and Fellows Coordinator of Harvard-Yenching Institute in Massachusetts.

Honduras


AmyAmy (Schaltegger) Escoto ’97 is co-director of Amigos de Jesus, a home for over 120 “amazing” orphaned and abandoned children in rural western Honduras. The home’s mission is to imitate the behavior and attitude of Jesus Christ for the children. The work is fulfilling and the lifestyle not overly comfortable. “I’m constantly aware of my privilege here. Honduras is known as a dangerous country, and the people are constantly surrounded by crime, violence, poverty and oppression. This is always part of my life and my consciousness. My sons’ best friends come from unimaginably di cult backgrounds but to my two boys, they are just their friends.”

“[This is] a culture about relationships and not products and productivity. We are able to accomplish a lot of amazing things; people always come first. We’ve had some awesome Saint A’s people volunteer here, including
a Winter Break Alternative trip in 2012.” A Sociology major, Amy says that studying abroad in Ecuador had a huge impact: “I fell in love with Latin America, and later, as a volunteer at a different home, I fell in love with Honduras and a Honduran!”

Spain


Mark and AmandaAmanda Sharon ’15 (IR) and Mark Schulze ’15 (psychology) teach English for UP International in Sevilla, Spain while taking online graduate teaching courses from the University of Navarra. “One of the most fulfilling parts of this job,” says Amanda, “is stepping out of my comfort zone every day. But the best feeling in the world is when something clicks with my students, and I see that new ability is because of my work!”

Mark says he and Amanda are strengthening their Spanish. “I don’t dream in Spanish. But I think in it a lot, especially when I react quickly; I blurt out something. Home for Christmas, I found myself saying ‘Excuse me’ and ‘Thank You’ in Spanish!”

Amanda points out that “People always stop to greet. They’re not afraid to joke with you or ask personal questions, and they party until the early hours. Here, people don’t go to bars and clubs UNTIL 1:00 am.” But the greatest contrast according to Mark, is the “speed of life. Everything is much slower. Walking down the street, you can see it. ‘Relaxed’ may be a better word.”

Ireland


Elizabeth (McGloin) Browne ’99 knew Ireland well before transplanting there. “I spent a semester abroad in Galway and loved every minute of it. Then I had a six-month job in Dublin with a study abroad provider. That changed everything” (including meeting her now-husband).

She says Ireland is more diverse than many imagine. “I.T. and Pharma has attracted people from all over the world. People of every race and religion live in Ireland. For someone like me who grew up visiting a very homogeneous Ireland, it has been a revelation.” Elizabeth notes “People joke about Irish pubs but they’re great for a cup of coffee and to relax, and there are jokes about Irish food (everything is boiled!) but products are of high quality and emphasize local suppliers and fresh ingredients.”

“In Ireland, the craft beer industry is a decade or two behind the U.S. For example, you can’t buy a 6-pack from a retailer here. We’re working to change that.”

Joe Reagan ’05
Metalman Craft Beers

Madagascar


RobinVia the Peace Corps, Robin Yoshida ’15 lives in “an extremely rural village” on the island-nation of Madagascar. “My job is to get people thinking proactively about health topics such as malaria, nutrition, hygiene and water sanitation, safe pregnancies, vaccinations and family planning.” Her region is populated by the Bestsimasaraka tribe, which she describes as “very free, outspoken and a lot of fun.” She is the only foreigner in her village, but “I have a host family with five girls around my age who are like sisters to me.”

A sociology major, Robin says the language is her biggest challenge since “No one in my village speaks English. It can be frustrating to explain something simple like washing your hands. Then there is “the flawed road system. It takes me nine hours in a taxi bus to go 100 kilometers; that’s a short trip. Soon, I’ll take a bus 33 hours to go that far and another 100 kilometers further.”

Kyrgyzstan


In this former Soviet state, Kelly Oberlin ’11 teaches business and life skills to youth up to age 28. Also in the Peace Corps, she describes her work as training people “to start a business, acquire start-up funding, write resumes and interview.” A financial economics major, she lives in Osh, a city where “there is infrastructure, but there are also 3,000 years of culture, tradition and patriarchal ideals to overcome. The most impact comes from empowering young people, especially girls, to break away from norms and give them tools for success.”

For some Anselmians, studying abroad meant coming to New Hampshire

Equador


MakaMaka Suarez ’06 calls herself “one of the few international students Saint A’s had in [her] cohort.” Originally “Maria del Carmen,” Maka says, “the hardest thing was moving from a diverse metropolis with over two million people to a small corner of the world in New Hampshire where there is, well, a lot of snow!”

At Saint Anselm, “Foreigners become a little bit ‘native’—it’s hard not to, learning from roommates and classmates about being a Red Sox fan, eating pumpkin pie, and sliding in mountains of snow. My most memorable moments include spending many ‘real’ Thanksgivings at the family of my fantastic roommate, still a close friend.”

An international business major, Maka is still abroad–in California– but behind her are Ecuador, the Netherlands, London, and Barcelona.

Italy


Gianpietro Mazzoleni ’69 lives in a small village north of Milan “with a gorgeous view of the Alps!” A sociology major and now-retired professor, he attended Saint Anselm as a young seminarian of the Somaschan fathers. “I am still grateful to the fathers who sent me to the U.S. to pursue a higher education, and to Saint Anselm’s Benedictine Community for opening my eyes to a different world.”

Gianpietro’s career took him around the world, but he returned to the States dozens of times speaking, teaching and on sabbatical. “The U.S. was a dreamful and fascinating place to live in. I have become and really am a ‘globe trotter.’”

“My freshman year, I was actually living with other Italian people in Manchester. I definitely felt like a ‘foreign’ student, uncertain with my English. But I made friends. This was during the tumultuous years of the Vietnam War and the election of Nixon. We had many political discussions!” Gianpietro received the Alumni Academic Achievement Award in 2013.

Colombia


IsabellaSister and brother Isabela ’06 and Alejandro ’09 Echeverry are forces for change in Colombia (both were international relations majors).

Isabela is creating entrepreneurship and innovation programs for the Cali Chamber of Commerce, contributing to growth of the city’s business infrastructure.

After Saint Anselm, she worked in Boston, got her Masters at Columbia University, and was recruited by the World Bank to return to Colombia. She’s “super weather and salsa dancing.”

AlejandroAlejandro manages a socially conscious start-up called Hogaru, a company with an app for cleaning services (“Uber for house cleaners”).

The mostly-female 500 employees receive benefits and fair wages.

Alejandro moved to Mexico to work for an organization that supported female entrepreneurs in indigenous communities, but he returned to Bogota in Colombia to achieve further success in that area.

Vietnam


“I looked at small New England schools, and in N.H., everything was different. The skies were clearer than Ho Chi Minh City."

Lan Nguyen ’12
Healthcare, food and beverage consultant

Belgium


SofiaSofia Carbonell ’07 was born and raised in Mexico (with American citizenship), and graduated from Saint Anselm (in politics) but the U.S. didn’t hold her long. With stops including Israel, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Sofia a now lives in Brussels, writing her thesis and working full time as Communications and Policy Officer at the Guild of Research-Intensive Universities.

“You have to be very patient with this city, discover its nooks and crannies, and you’ll fall in love with it. Trains, jazz bars, geographic location…it’s bike-friendly, has a metro and a good inter-city train system. Just jump on one and you’re in Ghent, Antwerp or the Ardennes. It is cheap to travel to many places but flying to Guadalajara, where my family lives, is very expensive; sometimes I wish I lived a bit closer."

Hawaii


Finally, “abroad” applies to Mike O’Shea ’61, a retired dentist on the island of Oahu. Born in England, O’Shea went to Tufts dental school after Saint Anselm (biology major), and was assigned “by good luck” to Hickham Air Force Base in Honolulu.

O’Shea echoes a central theme of Anselmians abroad: “Meeting people from so many different parts of the world just enriches life in so many ways. Here, it makes no difference what nationality, race, skin shade… People loving people is the basis of the Hawaiian culture. Practice the ‘ALOHA’ spirit.”

“Aloha” means compassion, peace and mercy as well as “Hello” and certainly “Goodbye,” which in the languages of these Anselmians countries include:

Au revoir (French)
Addio (Italian)
Mah krow (Akan, Ghana)
Veloma (Malagasy, Madagascar)
Slán (Gaelic)
G’day, mate (Australian)
Selamat tinggal (Malay, Singapore)
Wadaeaan (Arabic)