The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

St. John’s President Shanley Teases London Study Abroad Campus

The new campus, anticipated Fall 2025, would replace the Limerick, Ireland location.
Torch Design / Megan Chapman

St. John’s University President Rev. Brian Shanley expressed his hopes to establish a new study abroad campus in London, pivoting away from the University’s Limerick, Ireland study abroad location. In a Nov. 30 sit-down interview with The Torch, Shanley shares that hopes the location will be in effect in Fall 2025.

Shanley’s reasons for the potential move can be attributed to the “dicey” housing situation and the undeniable allure of London. 

“If I were a college student, I’d rather spend some time in London than Limerick,” Shanley said. “I think it would be an exciting option for our students.”

Provost Simon Møller has engaged in preliminary discussions with a London-based institution that has shown enthusiasm for a potential partnership, according to Shanley. However, the specific name of the university remains undisclosed at this stage.

The Limerick campus is one-third of the popular Discover Western Europe program, where students spend five weeks each in the Rome and Paris campuses and Limerick’s sister campus. The campus was established in spring of 2018, replacing the University’s Seville, Spain campus to avoid the problem of Schengen visa restrictions — visas for the Schengen area countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. This switch allowed students to study in each country for more than 90 days in a 180-day span. The Seville study-abroad operations ended in January 2018. 

In Limerick, students stay in hotel rooms at the Clayton Hotel throughout their five-week stay, a 15-minute walk from campus at Mary Immaculate College — compared to the University-sanctioned dorms on the respective Rome and Paris campuses. 

Senior Emily Kupiec participated in the Discover Western Europe program in Spring 2023, having mixed feelings about the potential shift. 

“I had a lovely experience in Limerick,” Kupiec said. “It’s a shame that others won’t be able to experience that, but I think a campus in London could be a great opportunity.”

Kupiec studied in Limerick for the first five weeks of the Spring 2023 semester. Her Discover Western Europe cohort lived in triples and with bathrooms in their own rooms, compared to the communal bathrooms of the Rome and Paris campuses. 

She says the people were her favorite part of her stay. “They were incredibly kind and welcoming, which made for such an amazing experience.” 

Participation in study abroad programs has declined in recent years. In the 2021-2022 academic year, the University sent 571 students abroad, according to University spokesperson Brian Browne. The Fall 2022 semester saw 147 students while Fall 2023 saw 177. 

Browne notes the increase is due to the increase in Global Passport program participants — a study abroad option for freshmen students. The University sends 40% of students abroad.  

The University has various study abroad programs, ranging from one week to a full semester. Programs also run during spring break, summer sessions I and II and in late May. 

“In an ideal world, we want all of our students to have some kind of international experience,” Shanley said. “We try to have as many of those immersion experiences as we can. If you can’t go through the semester let’s figure out some way of getting you abroad.” 

While he thinks students should study in a country that forces them to learn a new language, Shanley looks forward to the future of the University’s study abroad program. “London is a great, great city and will be a wonderful option for St. John’s students.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman, Managing Editor
Olivia is a junior journalism student serving her second year as Managing Editor. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an Undergraduate Writing Consultant at the University Writing Center. You can find her with a matcha latte in hand, listening to SZA and watching St. John's basketball. Olivia can be reached at [email protected]

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