Tell Us Your Story: Francesca Schenker

Francesca Schenker, inspiring students to pursue their passions in a different country. Photo by Victoria Mescall/Spectrum.

Francesca Schenker, inspiring students to pursue their passions in a different country. Photo by Victoria Mescall/Spectrum.

By Fallon Bevino

Staff Reporter

Assistant Director Of Global Affairs, Francesca Schenker turned her passion for traveling and learning about the world into a career in helping students do the same.

“I love not only the travel opportunities, but when students come back and can finally understand what I experienced, they come back and they’re more passionate and independent,” said Schenker.

Schenker has been a member of the Sacred Heart University community for six years. She serves as an advisor to students who are looking to study abroad ensuring each student finds the perfect fit when it comes to where and when they want to go.

In addition to advising students, Schenker also does a lot of the behind-the-scenes work by assisting as a liaison between students and all of the study abroad programs.

Personal experience drove Schenker to where she is now. Her first experience studying abroad took place in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

“I took courses in the Spanish language, culture, conversation, art, history, and cinema. We took all of our classes in the Spanish, which was challenging, yet rewarding,” said Schenker.

In addition to spending much of her time in Spain, she was able to go on excursions and travel to neighboring countries when she had free time.

After graduation, Schenker decided to go abroad again, but this time she worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

“I spent 10 to 11 months in Seville, Spain. It was very challenging going there on my own, in a new city, having to find my own housing, get into a routine, all while having a job,” said Schenker.

Schenker expanded on the hardships that she faced on this trip that turned into lasting life-lessons.

“It was a very hard experience, I lived an hour away from my job, and had to take two buses every day to get there,” said Schenker. “But it gave me the opportunity to be independent, travel around Spain, and improve my language skills.”

For this very reason, Schenker is very passionate about studying abroad and the benefits it provides students.

“Studying abroad allows students to meet people from across the globe; from different walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds,” said Schenker. “It gives students the chance to really expand their world view.”

Having been to 19 countries, Schenker shared her favorite trip and her wishes for future endeavors.

“I recently traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I loved everything about it; the weather, the people, the food, and the dancing, especially the Tango,” said Schenker. “If there was one place I’d really like to go, it would be somewhere in Asia, like Thailand, or somewhere in Australia.”

Being abroad and how it shaped her personally and professionally.

“Studying abroad helps students find themselves and become more independent individuals,” said Schenker. “It allows students to break out of their SHU-bubble. It’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zones.”


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