Thomas is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy.
Major: Political Science
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted an adventure that would push me outside my comfort zone. I wanted to see how life is different internationally compared to the United States. Also, every person that I ever talked to about the experience held it in high regard. I chose the Greco-Roman program specifically because of the rich history that both places hold. Rome and Athens were both at one point the most powerful empires in the world. Second, the location of Greece and Italy allow easy travel to nearby countries in Europe. Lastly, the warm weather and beaches in Greece are a huge plus.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The cultural experience that most impacted me was the people and the food. A man named Deep worked at the local gyro shop. Since we would go there on a regular basis, he would always sit and talk with us. We got to know him and he got to know us. He was truly interested in who we were, a genuine and nice person. While the gyro's were delicious, the best food by far was the gelato in Italy. There is a gelato shop called Frigidarium in Rome. We would stop there at any opportunity that we had. Those two among many more leave a lasting impression of wanting to return.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Overall I believe that studying abroad was the best decision that I have ever made in my life. The people at this school are some of the best people to travel abroad with. They make it so much easier when you are learning to get out of your comfort zone. The professors in the schools are all experts in their field. For example, our history professor in Greece was an epigraphist. They study these subjects for a living, which makes the students learning experience that much better. My advice for people who are on the fence about studying abroad is just do it. It is something you will cherish forever and never forget.
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 too many benefits to count, but I will try to name a few. Personally, you will learn so much about yourself. Living so independent abroad gives you chances to explore and experience new things.You will become more culturally aware. Sometimes we get so caught up with what is going on in the United States that we forget there is a whole world out there living their lives too. Academically you become much more knowledgeable about the history of the world and find new ways to learn because most classes are out in the cities or "field". Professionally I believe it makes someone much more hirable. A worldly knowledge is a great quality that employers will look for.There are many more and it is best to go experience them on your own and see what the world holds !
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do not be afraid to do anything. Push yourself to go out of your comfort zone and experience new things. That said, know it is a big commitment, spending a semester abroad is definitely a challenge, but it is 100% worth it. You will only be better after it. Lastly, if you do not know which program to go on, talk to all the ambassadors. They will be more than happy to talk to you. All the programs are slightly different, so just find the best one for you.