Erik Engelsgjerd is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy.
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Part of the reason why I decided to come to St. Johns University was to experience life abroad through one of their highly acclaimed programs. I wanted the transformational experience that only being abroad can provide. It was also drawing because it allowed me to see a different culture. Growing up in northern Minnesota, the cultural differences were few and far between. Being immersed in not only one separate culture but two has been an incredible experience. I chose Greco-Roman for that exact reason. It is one of the only options that allows you to see and live in two separate lifestyles. I have also been fascinated with Greek and Roman history ever since I was young.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
With so many experiences to choose from, it is hard to peg down one single moment that transcends above the others. If I had to, I would choose climbing Lykavittos Hill in Athens, Greece. Our last week in Athens, many of the students in our group decided to climb the hill in order to get a final glance at the city. The walk up was arduous, but the final result was incredible. The view was spectacular and it wrapped up the experience in Athens. To watch the sun go down over the Acropolis and see the lights go up on the Parthenon will always be in my mind.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Of all the questions that I have gotten since returning to the U.S., this is the hardest one. My abroad experience meant more to me than words can express. I met amazing people, saw incredible things and changed personally. It is something that was important to me on every level.
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?
The benefits of study abroad are copious. It creates opportunities to make long lasting friendships and increases your willingness for new experiences. Already I have seen my drive to see and do new things on campus go up exponentially. It gives you the fire to become more involved. It also provides the spark for travel and life. I know to not take this time in college for granted, but being abroad made me realize how lucky I truly am. Another positive that being abroad has provided me are life lessons, ones that I can share with future employers when interviews role around.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do it. It will be the experience of a lifetime. There are few times in life where this is even a possibility, living abroad for that long.
Have any questions about studying abroad in Galway? E-mail Erik at firstname.lastname@example.org