Molly Kelly is an Ambassador who studied in Greece and Italy
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew in high school that I wanted to study abroad in college. I had spent 3 weeks living in Germany in high school and I was so ready to travel again. When looking at colleges it was really important to choose a school that had study abroad programs. I had heard several study abroad stories from other CSBSJU students so I knew that I really wanted to study abroad. My freshman year when I got to campus I was thinking about going on the Greco-Roman trip because I had fallen in love with Greece through stories and movies. When it came time to start thinking about applying I started to look into other programs that seemed interesting but my heart was set on the Greco-Roman trip. I also thought it would be so great to visit two amazing places on one trip.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Grocery shopping was quite the cultural experience. It was something that made me anxious every time we went but still an experience we had so much fun with. The first time we went to a grocery store in Greece was so overwhelming because it was all in Greek. Luckily the grocery store was much smaller than our American super stores so after wandering around for awhile we began to recognize several basic food items.
Then it came time to pay. Having just arrived in Greece a day or two ago many of us had large Euros from the ATMs. Every time we took out a 50 we would get looks of frustration or asked if we had anything smaller. After telling them we didn't we would pack up our groceries as fast as possible, collect our change and walk the several blocks home with our groceries in hand.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I don't know if I could ever fully describe my experience to someone. There were so many "you had to be there" moments. It was amazing. It was an experience that I will never regret. I have so many stories to tell and pictures to share. Everyday there was something new to learn and to see. There were moments that were challenging but I learned how to deal with difficult situations .There were also moments that I never wanted to end.
Being in Greece and Italy was like living in a history book. It was so wonderful to experience these places we grew up learning about in school. We saw so many amazing and historical places and places that are too beautiful to capture on camera. I got to cross many things off my bucket list and do things I never imagined I would be able to do.
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?
Studying abroad forces you to come out of your shell and make new friends. I have so many new and wonderful friends after being abroad that I never would have met otherwise. I think that is one of the best parts of studying abroad is being able to share the experience with a great group of people.
I think that studying abroad has made me less of a procrastinator. It became more of a priority to get homework done earlier so we could go out and explore the areas we were in.
It also made me more adaptable to new places and experiences. Which is something that is really important in a professional setting and I know it will be a beneficial skill to have one day.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Just go with it. Things will happen that are out of your control that will frustrate you or change up your whole schedule. The only thing to do is just to accept what you can't control. It will work out but it might not be the way you expected it to. Also so many great experiences come out of the unexpected. So be willing to take risks and do not overlook any opportunities that present themselves.