Amelia is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy
Minor: Hispanic Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I first heard about this program when I was a senior in high school and was interested in it ever since. I liked the idea of going to two countries to learn about the art and history of both countries and how the countries are related. After going to the study abroad fair and listening to the study abroad ambassadors talk about how much they loved this program, I decided that this was the program for me! I specifically chose this program because it offered interesting courses and it was a wonderful way to experience and live in two different European cultures.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
On our first excursion we went to the excavation site and museum of ancient Delphi. It was a wonderful weekend trip and on our way back, we stopped in a small ski village for lunch. We were looking for the best place to eat gyros- a favorite traditional Greek food that many people enjoyed eating on our trip. After finding a small taverna, we tried ordering, only to find out that the owner and his daughter barely spoke English. We didn't know anything in Greek and the menu was poorly translated. One of the locals of the town must have heard us struggling to order and stepped in to help translate- it was very nice of him! It took us a while to finally order our gyros, but they were really good when they served them for us. Interactions like these showed me the hospitality of Greeks- they were always very kind to us and tried to help us out whenever they could. One of the bakery owners in Athens whom we got to know said this: "If a Greek sees that you need help, they will help you. Not because you are a student, a traveler, or American, but because you're a human," his words and the kindness of many strangers in Greece have definitely made a lasting impression.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It is hard to describe my entire study abroad experience in just a few sentences! I made a bunch of new friends on this trip and our entire group became a little family abroad. We saw amazing cities every weekend on excursions and got to explore Athens and Romes during class (most of my classes weren't in a classroom!). I thought the information we learned in class was not only interesting but applicable to some other courses here at CSBSJU. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could- it was an amazing experience!
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?
When you spend time abroad you learn more about that country, its people, culture than you would if you just vacationed there. You learn many skills that are useful "in the real world" like time management, keeping a budget, communication, planning, and learning to ask for help or directions when you get a little lost. Study Abroad also let me take courses outside of my major that I wouldn't have normally taken on campus.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Be adventurous! Get out there and see the world and take every opportunity you are given to learn or see something new. There is nothing else like waking up in Athens, going down to your new favorite coffee shop, and having class on the Acropolis, or waking up at 5am to see the Pope. No matter which program you choose, your experiences that you have will last a lifetime and shape how you see the world.