President Emeritus Travels to International Affairs

By Alison Trautmann
Staff Writer

Sister Mary Reap, president emeritus of Marywood, has a new job on campus.  She is presently working with students from Marywood who study abroad and international students who are studying at Marywood.

Going from president of the entire university to working with international affairs is quite a change.  Sister Reap said that there is no way to compare the two jobs.  Being president of Marywood meant that she had responsibility for the entire institution, but being involved in International Affairs means that she is only responsible for a little piece of the institution.

Sister Reap’s favorite part of her new job is the interaction with students.  She also enjoys creating a welcoming environment for the international students attending Marywood.  Sister Reap has traveled extensively, visiting many countries including Japan, Peru, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, South America, and Turkey.  Throughout her experiences, Sister Reap noticed that “despite language and cultural differences, it always amazes me how alike we are.”   Sister Reap was a foreign language major at Marywood and has a Masters in Spanish Literature.  She taught English in China and studied abroad at the University of Madrid.  Sister Reap remembers how people were very welcoming and helpful to her when she went abroad, and hopes to create that same feeling here at Marywood.

There are 60 students from 25 different countries currently studying at Marywood.  They are evenly spread out over the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Students from abroad can either pursue a degree or participate in the Intensive English Program (IEP).  The Intensive English Program prepares students to be able to take college courses in English.  There is a lot of support for students dealing with the language barrier.  Sister Reap said, “After you live in a culture, you begin to hear things differently; you actually begin to surprise yourself with your ability to speak the language.”

Marywood has always had international students.  There were three women from France in the second class at Marywood, so international cooperation has always been a part of Marywood’s identity as an institution.  Sister Reap sees international relationships as part of the core values of any institution.  Sister Reap emphasized that, “Until we understand others, there is no chance for world peace. “

Sister Reap said that students studying about have to be willing to experience the culture of the area where they study.   In her view, studying abroad changes people, but one has to go with an open mind, and be ready and willing to experience that culture.  “The world is an exciting, wonderful, diverse place” Sister Reap said. “The more time you spend in other cultures, the more compassionate and understanding you become.”