Francesco is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Minor: Hispanic Studies, Anthropology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
My older brother, a 2016 grad, studied abroad while he was a junior at SJU and had a huge influence on my decision to go abroad. I wanted to play baseball in the spring, so I was looking for a fall program. France and Chile caught my eye initially, but I choose Chile because it gave me the best chance to learn Spanish.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The Chileans honor their independence from Spain on September 18th with a week long celebration. I was lucky enough to attend some of the celebrations in my town's square where huge numbers of people turned out. I went with a few of my Chilean friends from basketball and they took me under their wing and helped me interact with their friends despite my lack of Spanish at the time. There were rides, games, and drinks to enjoy while celebrating later into the night.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was incredible. From living with a host family to playing basketball for the college, I truly felt like I got to experience how a Chilean student my age lives his 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?
Interacting with a different culture will expand your mind in ways you didn't think possible. You will gain a sense of independence while still appreciating all that you have back home. Studying abroad in Chile allowed me to learn Spanish, a skill I will take with me the rest of my life. Students who study abroad have a higher rate of getting hired after graduation than those who don't, so I am in a better place professionally thanks to my abroad experience. Additionally, I have come back from studying abroad with a new perspective on school and as a result I am doing much better academically.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
CSB/SJU prides itself on their ability to send it's students abroad, so take advantage of this incredible opportunity! While it may seem overwhelming, studying abroad will change your life for the better and I highly encourage any student considering studying abroad to make the leap of faith.