Brigitta Johnson is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Rome.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One of my favorite things to do in Athens was shop at the weekly neighborhood market. It's an odd combination of vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, household goods, and even clothes! Basically anything you could ever need, could be found in the market. Between the vendors shouting in Greek, advertising their goods, the many shoppers with their arms weighed down with their haul, and the old ladies that barreled through the crowds wheeling behind them their overflowing carts, there was never a dull moment! It was a lively and colorful experience that allowed me to interact with the Greek locals and to try out the little Greek I had leaned in class.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It seems rather cliche to say it, but I have become much more independent and self-reliant because of my study abroad experience. There is just something so liberating and empowering to know that I am capable of traveling on my own through out Europe and navigating my way through cities like Rome and Athens! It was so easy to just hop on the bus or metro and go to a museum for the day, or head over to the Vatican to visit the Pope. Before leaving, I never would have said that I would have been able to fly from Athens to Rome and then grab a train and travel to different cities all on my own, but I did! And I am so happy that I've been able to gain such independence that will only benefit me in the future.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
One of the hardest, yet most frequent question that I have been ask, since being back is, "So, how was your trip?" And I struggle to come up with and answer, because it's almost impossible to sum up 4 amazing months of travel, adventure, friendship and craziness all into one easy answer. There are just so many stories to share in this little answer, but I love to talk to anyone that is willing to listen to me!
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help, we all get a little lost sometimes. Don't be afraid to try new foods. Don't be afraid to take sometime and explore the cities on your own. This study abroad experience is once in a lifetime, and you don't want to have any regrets coming back. Make the most of your time, live in the moment, and enjoy the people you are with, because you will become one amazing family by the end!