Morgan 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?
Like so many other students I chose to study abroad because I wanted to experience more of the world than just our small state of Minnesota. I wanted to know what not just seeing another country, but living in another country would be like. I was originally attracted towards the Greco-Roman trip because I knew there were so many major attractions such as the Parthenon, Vatican, Pantheon, etc. to visit. I also liked the idea of getting to spend a large amount of time in two different countries. Lastly, the location of Greece and Rome opened the door to so many more weekend excursions to nearby European countries that I wouldn't have had with some other programs.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
When I was at a little outdoor coffee shop in Greece this old Greek man walked up to my friend and I and started to introduce himself. He didn't just do it by saying his name and asking ours, but instead he said his name and then said who he was the father of and grandfather of until he has listed his entire relations. Then he went on to tell us the history of the Acropolis and Parthenon and how they got their names. We later found out that this interaction was completely normal for the Greeks. They love to approach everyone and anyone to teach them about the history of their city or culture. As well, when they introduce themselves they will often state their relatives after they say their name. Just being able to interact with the locals and feel somewhat apart of their lives was an amazing experience.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I have found that this is the hardest question to answer when people ask me how my study abroad experience was. However, it usually ends with me saying it was BEST 4 months of my entire life. The opportunity to feel at home in another country is something you may never have the opportunity to experience again and I am immensely happy that I chose to do it.
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?
Before going abroad I wasn't exactly sure what kind of personal growth I was going to have, but now being back I think that personal growth was the most growth I had overall. Traveling most certainly doesn't always go prefect and there was nothing you could usually do about it. Because of those experiences I very quickly learned to adapt to travel situations and go with the flow. Along with those experiences and seeing how other countries were living I grew to realize that my problems or my stresses in life are very minimal in comparison to some of those abroad. I came back with a more worldly outlook in life and tend to think of how situations going on here in America can affect those around the world instead of just us.
Academically I became a more well rounded student. Before study abroad the large majority of classes that I took were science based and abroad that all changed. We were assigned Greek and Roman literature, art history, language, and religion. At first these classes may not seem to apply to the academic path that I am going down, but having a more well rounded education has already proved helpful in some of the conversations I am having now that I am back home.
While I was abroad a couple other students and I decided to get involved in the refugee crisis that was going on in Greece. Through our school in Greece we found this company who takes in refugees, helps cloth them, feed them, and get them paperwork for their stay. Once a week we made our way to this shelter to volunteer by helping prep and serve in the soup kitchen and sometimes we were able to play with the children that were waiting for their parents to finish with paperwork. My goals after college are to get into medical school and one day become a doctor. I think that my entire experience abroad, especially this opportunity to volunteer, is something that I could talk about in applications or interviews with potential schools.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My advice to CSB/SJU students who are considering study abroad is do it! It is such a rewarding experience and if you have the opportunity to do it, you should! My advice to students who have been accepted and are making their plans
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Greece and Italy? Email Morgan at [email protected]