Sarah is an ambassador who studied abroad in Italy and Greece
Major: Elementary Education
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
First, as the name depicts, this is the only program where you can study abroad in two locations in the duration of one semester. Everything seems better because you get to experience all the joys of a new place twice! Going along this, both Italy and Greece are pretty central in Europe allowing one to travel to their heart's content. One of my goals was to see the world, and by the end of my abroad experience, I really believe I achieved this goal.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
On Friday afternoons in Athens, a few streets turned into outdoor markets. This was one of my favorite parts of Athens, because each week I could get fresh fruits and vegetables for very cheap. It also was a place where you met the friendly Greek locals, could practice your Greek, and even observe the daily life of the average Greek citizen. Not only could you get a lot of food for your money, but this was a cultural experience that immersed yourself into the daily life of everyone living around you.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Amazing. There really are no words to summarize the experience that I had abroad. I made lifelong friends. I traveled to 8 countries and 28 cities. I moved beyond tourist status and truly experienced what it means to live in two different cultures. I further developed levels of compassion and empathy for others within and out of our group. Overall, the Roman-Greco program exceeded my expectations and I would tell anyone to study abroad. It was the best 4 months of my life, and if I had the chance to go back, I would in an instant!
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?
Overall, it puts you out of your comfort zone. You learn how to live on your own and be independent. Through all the ups and downs, you learn so much about yourself. One of the largest benefits of the Roman-Greco program was how you experience a variety of alternative approaches to learning. Majority of my classes were spent on site and rarely in the classroom. This was especially important for me because one day in my own classroom I can recall my experiences abroad and put those into action for my own students. This reminds me of all the different types of learners that I may come across one day!
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
1. DO IT! There will never be another opportunity like this in your life to spend 4 months of your college career abroad.
2. Embrace ambiguity. Many things are not going to go your way. Learn to laugh them off and know that it is a part of life and many times those experiences become the most memorable.
3. Save your money and know that you will spend a lot. It is worth it! Assume you are never coming back and do everything while you can.
4. Write down all the good times and the bad times because you WILL want to remember them! I made a visual journal, and it is the one souvenir that I am most thankful for.