December 2017


Juan Altamirano Herrera is currently an ELB undergraduate seminarian student at Saint Mary's University (SMU). He grew up in a small Nicaraguan village, Llano Largo. After completing middle school, Juan’s only options for attending high school were to stay in his hometown and attend Saturday only classes or move to the nearest city, Esteli, and enroll in a school there. Juan was fortunate to find a sponsor allowing him to live in the city and earn his diploma. Once a month, he would return home to visit his parents and two bothers; the trip from the city consisted of an hour and a half bus ride followed by a 40-minute walk up a hillside. Graduating at the very top of his class, Juan was invited to apply for a SEED program scholarship designed to assist Central American students who exemplified excellence in not only academics but also social justice and service. Out of 165 applicants, 17 were awarded a scholarship to attend an institution of higher education in the U.S.A.; Juan was one of the recipients. In 2013, Juan moved to Appleton, WI and began his studies at Fox Valley Technical College where he studied English language and business management. Eventually, during his time in the U.S.A., Juan’s childhood interest in becoming a Catholic priest matured and developed into a formal calling that ultimately brought joy and peace to his heart. As a result of meetings with a vocational director for the diocese of Green Bay, WI, Juan chose to move to Winona to continue his studies. With his first semester at SMU almost complete, Juan is especially appreciative of the willingness of all SMU faculty, staff and students to extend offers of help and assistance. He is likewise impressed with SMU’s openness to and support of a diverse population of cultures and religions. Juan feels blessed to be at SMU and is looking forward to his future years here.

Stephan Kahlstorf

Friday, November 17, was the last day of the London Semester Study Abroad Program for 2017. Throughout this semester, the group has learned about multiple facets of British culture through taking art, politics, and theatre courses, along with going on multiple day trips to locations such as Blenheim Palace, Bath, Cambridge, and Canterbury. A favorite activity from my semester was a weekend spent in Scotland backpacking through the Isle of Skye. Being a part of the London Program has really helped me to gain a larger appreciation for a different world view. Besides classes, the ability to participate in putting on a play for a London audience was an invaluable experience, as well as the optional Gaiety School of Acting Irish Theatre Intensive in Dublin, Ireland. This program is truly a one of a kind experience, and I would highly suggest that anyone of any major who is slightly interested in study abroad consider this wonderful opportunity.

If you're wondering about what happens outside the classroom when you're in London, visit the London blog.

Students in London

The Saint Mary’s London Program is a 12 week fall semester program. The program is open to all majors and required for theatre majors. The application deadline for Fall 2018 is February 15. The application is available in the Study Abroad Office, International Center, the Heights. For more information about the London Program go to the London website.

Savhanna Berger

This semester I studied through Spanish Studies Abroad where I was one of 15 American students in the program. From the food, the people, and the laid-back atmosphere, I absolutely loved my time in Alicante. I lived with a host mom, and I ate like a queen! She was a cook for many years, so I was always trying new traditional Spanish food; my personal favorite is octopus. She didn't know any English words except "coffee" and "thank you," so I had tons of opportunities to practice speaking Spanish. She and her family were so welcoming and answered any questions that I had; I was even invited to her daughter's wedding. In regard to my classes, I took classes with other international students in Spain, so I had the opportunity to meet people from around the world. I learned so much about Spain's history, culture, and the Spanish language. Being immersed in a culture improved my language skills and taught me so much more than any other class will ever teach me.

student activities

November 13-17, the Winona campus community celebrated International Education Week, a U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education initiative. The celebration began and continued throughout the week with a Taste of the World. Chartwells was kind enough to offer cuisine from nearly all of the continents by serving lunch choices from the native countries of our international students. The International Center hosted an international tea party so that the Saint Mary's community could sample Vietnamese coffee, Saudi Arabian tea, and Mexican hot chocolate. It also hosted international dance lessons with the assistance of IHM seminarians and the SMU Ballroom Dance Club. Presentations included Saint Mary's Study Abroad participants sharing their experiences in Spain and Italy and Carolyn and John Collins sharing their experiences as volunteers in Ethiopia and South Africa. The celebration ended with the announcement of the winners of several contests offered throughout the week, followed by a piñata party at the International Center. Congratulations to Oscar Castro, Jack Knoblauch, Megan DeMaris, Paul Nienaber, Jan Olson, and Kathy Pederson for their knowledge of the world as evidenced by the international trivia contest. Finally, a BIG thanks to all of you who participated in this year’s International Education Week events.

students playing a game

Staff and students from the International Center (IC) started the holiday season by participating in Cardinal Fest.  The IC’s “Minute to Win It” beanbag toss was a success. While enjoying the challenge of the game and snacking on fortune cookies, participants competed for high scores and the privilege of having their names posted on the game’s bragging rights board.

students with Christmas tree

International holiday greetings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Best wishes!
Spanish: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo. ¡Los mejores deseos!
Italian: Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo. Auguri!
French: Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année. Meilleurs vœux!
Arabic:  .جميلة سنة لكم  اتمني .سعيدة       جديدة   سنة ،مجيد ميلاد
Chinese: Merry Christmas: 圣诞快乐 (sheng dan kuai le), Happy New Year: 新年快乐 (xin nian kuai le), All the best: 万事如意 (wan shi ru yi) or 一切顺利 ( yi qie shun li)