Stephanie Noyes 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?
At first, I did not know if studying abroad would fit in my busy schedule - but I decided I would regret it if I didn't take the wonderful opportunity our school gives us in their study abroad programs. I decided on Greco-Roman for so many reasons. I was excited about having a break from all of my science, Pre-Medicine classes and building on my liberal arts education I have been developing here. The historical and religious significance of both Greece and Rome is absolutely astounding - such breathtaking atmospheres to learn in. Not to mention the absolute beauty of both countries! My knowledge of their rich culture, history, landscapes and people undoubtedly drew me towards this program.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I had a wonderful experience with a woman I call the 'bakery lady'. She worked at a bakery that we frequented very, very often, just down the street from our apartments. A few weeks into our trip, a huge group of us decided to go for dessert at the bakery after supper. We asked her to give us whatever her favorite was! After a bit of running around the shop trying to decide what to give us, she had us 'try' a pastry, on her. She then proceeded to fill a bag with twenty ice-cream/pastry treats, and gave it to us for free! We could not believe her generosity. After that night, her face lit up every time we entered to bakery, and her friendliness never stopped. Later, the bakery lady told one of us that she was happy to do it, because we were so polite and kind to her and the other locals. We were so moved that she felt that way, and happy that we were being seen in such a positive light.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Absolutely incredible. It challenged me, moved me, pushed me, supported me, and forever changed me. I learned and gained so much. The memories made with locals, with my professors, and with my group will stay with me always. At times it was overwhelming, but in a completely wonderful and exhilarating way. It was hands down one of the best experiences of my life.
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?
There are so many wonderful benefits of going abroad - I would recommend it to anyone. Personally, I grew so much during my time away. In my view of the world, my perception of others, even how I see myself. One of the major aspects for me was the community - I undoubtedly built numerous lifelong friendships while abroad. Being in a completely different academic environment was enlightening and comforting, in that it showed me how much I appreciate the way our education works at home. Professionally, I feel as though I now have an entire arsenal of topics to talk about and relate to due to my experiences abroad.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The biggest piece of advice I have is to do something new every day. It can be easy to get into a routine and just hang out - but don't fall into that! Go out and explore, even if its just to find a new pizzeria or gyro shop. Each city has so much to offer - never stop exploring. Some of my favorite memories came out of the random adventures we found ourselves in when we just went exploring. Put your adventure pants on every morning, and wear them well. :)