Victoria Goupil and Samantha Bizub shared their life-changing study-abroad experiences during a "Welcome Back Luncheon" on Oct. 3. They are pictured with Dr. Duleep Deosthale, vice president of International Relations and the Brennan Center.

Niagara University students are once again opting to study abroad now that COVID-19 travel restrictions are loosening. The International Relations office kicked off a new semester of these critical academic experiences with a luncheon on Oct. 3 to highlight the programs available and share some recent student experiences.

There has been a renewed interest in these opportunities, which help students develop leadership skills and intercultural perspectives while enhancing their own self-awareness. Katie DeCecco, assistant director of international student services, noted that this summer, two students completed study-abroad excursions and two members of the faculty led trips abroad. During the current semester, nine students are studying in countries including Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, and Australia.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand (for these programs),” she said.

“Study-abroad helps to understand the diversity that makes up this world of ours,” said Dr. Duleep Deosthale, vice president of International Relations and the Brennan Center. “This is an amazing opportunity for students to experience, explore, and engage. We want our students to go out into the world, experiencing and engaging with the communities.”

Victoria Goupil, a junior marketing major, joined six of her fellow underclassman business majors, two graduate students, five student-athletes, and two nursing majors on a 15-day global trade finance trip to Italy this summer. Accompanied by Dr. Mark Frascatore, dean of the Holzschuh College of Business Administration, and Ed Hutton, an associate professor of finance and economics in the college, the students visited businesses and attractions in Bologna, Florence, Pompeii, and Rome.

“From this experience, I gained a new appreciation for the Italian culture, history, cuisine, and how international businesses operate,” she said. “This trip brought me out of my shell and gave me a broader view of possibilities internationally that are endless, especially in my field of study.”

Samantha Bizub, senior education/TESOL major, went to Costa Rica for five weeks over the summer. She expected it to be like a vacation, she said, but came back realizing that “study-abroad is totally life-changing. You leave with the most amazing memories, friendships, and a new inspiration and energy for life that I didn’t have before. I feel like my experience brought me a new, strong sense of self-confidence that I can do the hard things and walk into the unknown.”

She added that, as a TESOL major, she felt the experience helped her to better understand what her current and future students experience as they navigate their way in a new country. “I can really relate now to the students that I have in my placements in student teaching. Just being able to put myself in their shoes was hands-down one of the best benefits.”

For more information on Niagara University’s study-abroad program, visit


Your Thoughts