My 1978-79 junior year in Fribourg was the most important experience of my undergraduate time at Providence College. I vividly remember the moment when I first met my landlords, an elderly couple, at Boulevard de Pérolles 93. They spoke no English, and I had just finished intermediate French during my sophomore year. As that first, halting conversation came to a close, I shut the door to my little room (with a balcony!) and wondered what I had got myself into.
As a native Rhode Islander, this was my first sojourn out of the state. What ensued was a truly magical year of grace. I eventually became fluent in French (largely due to a petite amie). I traveled all over Europe by hitchhiking and trains to see the things that we had studied in DWC (our first big trip was to Rome to witness the installation of John Paul II). I learned to love fondue and wash my clothes in a bathtub with Woolite. We took over Café Chemin de Fer and forced the Swiss to play the Bee Gees. I took a theology course with Fr. Coleman O’Neill, O.P. that awoke in me a lifetime’s fascination with the problem of divine providence. I made some friends for life. I learned how small and American my view of the world was. I discovered that my faith was transportable and transnational. I think I grew up.
Fifty years ago, Dr. Raymond G. LePage ’64 became the first PC student to study abroad. LePage, associate professor emeritus of French at George Mason University, shared his reflections on that experience.
Read Dr. LePage's story.
Ethan Gentes ’13 (Durham, N.H.), a history and Spanish double major and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program, recently returned from a study abroad semester in Argentina and wrote the following reflection as a tribute to the late Rev. Edward L. Cleary, O.P. Father Cleary, professor emeritus of political science, taught at Providence College from 1993-2011, retiring shortly before he died last November.
If you're a Providence College alumni of the Study Abroad Program we invite you to submit your photos, stories, and reflections of your study abroad experience that we will post to this website. Please send all photos and stories to email@example.com.