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Kean’s Spring Break Study Abroad Programs

By Jordan Beaudoin | Published April 1, 2024

Kean University, as a whole, wants to make learning fun for all students who attend its programs. 

Students who attended the Travel Learn in Ireland | Credit: Matthew Widerspan
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Students who attended the Travel Learn in Ireland | Credit: Matthew Widerspan

The school has many great programs that it has to offer, and at the school, one of the biggest things that they have going for them is the college’s Travel Learn program. 

Travel Learn is the studying abroad program that allows students to go away with the school and learn about the world around them. 

While students are on the Travel Learn trips, they can also earn up to three credits depending on what they are going to do while they are on these trips. 

Throughout this year’s spring break, students from both Kean Ocean and Kean University’s main campus in Union, New Jersey, got to go on study abroad trips. 

This year’s spring break trips sent students to different parts of the world, such as Costa Rica, Ireland, and Paris. Three places that students got to learn a lot about. Most of the Travel Learn trips allow students to learn about different things that are part of their degrees. 

In Costa Rica, there were about 21 students on this trip, and one student the group had met in Costa Rica who was working on getting his visa for the United States. He participated in all of the activities with them. 

Students got to give back to the community and help out in many ways while they were there. 

They spent time only on research farms that allowed them to learn a little about how Starbucks Coffee is made. They also spent the night at an animal research center. Students also met with other students in Costa Rica where they taught them how to speak the English language. Other fun things they could do was go on a hike and then, in the evening, spend time studying turtles and bats for scientific research. 

Aiden Rivello, a Junior at the Kean Ocean Campus who is studying Communication Studies, shared his thoughts on the Costa Rica trip. 

“I just loved being there; talk about no stress, with little to no worries,” Rivello said.  

This trip was considered to be a hands-on experience and internship that students got to enjoy and make a lifetime of memories while they were there. 

Meanwhile, Ireland for students was a bit different from the Costa Rica trip. On this Travel Learn, there were about 20 students, and the trip focused more on the literary side of things. Students were able to investigate and take a tour of Belfast, and students also got to go to the James Joyce Museum. 

Another thing they got to learn on this trip was exploring Dublin, and lastly, they were able to have a literary tour. 

Matthew Widerspan, a Kean Ocean senior who is currently majoring in Global Studies with a minor in Communication and a concentration in Human Rights Activism, participated in the Ireland Travel Learn. 

Widerspan had a great time in the country, getting to see all their beautiful sights and learn a little bit more about the world of literature. 

“I had fun; it’s a worthwhile opportunity for a much lower cost going with a group than on your own,” Widerspan said. 

The professors on this trip were Lisa Sisler, D.Litt, MFA and Christina Mastroeni. 

Sisler also commented on how the students felt. 

Aiden Rivello enjoying his time in Costa Rica. | Credit: Aiden Rivello
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Aiden Rivello enjoying his time in Costa Rica.
| Credit: Aiden Rivello

“I do. The students have said the trip was”life-changing” as many of them immersed themselves in Irish culture and cuisine. Their travel articles highlight the close friendships they made and the fun they had exploring Dublin,” Sisler said. 

Lastly, Paris, France and London was the third trip that took place over the spring break. This trip was focused on a lot more things towards the psychology majors that were here at the college.

On this Travel Learn, there were 29 students in total.  

While Students were in these two countries, they were able to do different things. 

During this trip, students were able to visit the Science and Industry Museum, the Versailles Palace, the Royal Farms Pharmaceutical Society, The Ferud House, The Botanic Garden, The Museum of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and lastly, they were able to stay in West London. 

This trip was more of a history trip for students involved in the psychology program. However, they did get more background knowledge in the longest-running psychiatric institution and many other museums that they attended.  

Ilyse O’Desky, Psy.D., the advisor of the Travel Learn and the Department of Psychology at Kean University, said students had a great time while on the trip. 

“Students have always enjoyed themselves on this trip; they made it clear that they have a good time,” O’Desky said.

O’Desky also commented on how Travel Learn is great for students. 

“It’s a fun way to get three credits, and you get to see the world differently than in the United States,” O’Desky said. 

The Travel Learn group in Costa Rica | Credit: Aiden Rivello
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The Travel Learn group in Costa Rica | Credit: Aiden Rivello

It’s not hard for students to get involved in the Travel Learn Program. However, students have specific requirements that they have to meet. 

Students at Kean need to maintain a GPA of 2.8 or higher, have a clean record with the school, and they also need to follow rules and directions on the trips. 

If they are interested in any of the trips that are being offered to them, they need to apply a few months in advance before they can attend the trip. 

They have a form that needs to be filled out and signed off on by an advisor or supervisor; all travel learning trips must be connected to at least one class on students’ KeanWISE accounts. 

Students can also apply for scholarships that will help pay for the cost of the trips. Nearly all of them have scholarships that students can apply for, so they are not paying out of pocket for the journey. 

The next round of Travel Learn trips will take place over the summer, and students can go to more areas such as Belize, South Korea, Italy, and London. 

Travel Learn trips are genuinely great and helpful for students trying to earn their college degrees.