Briana Garcia-Saldana

Briana is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greco-Roman.

Major: Psychology

Minor: Hispanic Studies, Sociology


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to gain a fresh way of learning because of the unique environment that I would be in for the first time. I had the opportunity to experience different cultures, societies, and religions unlike my own. I was able to study abroad in Greece and Italy which was going completely out of my comfort zone. I was fascinated with the idea of visiting countries that I did not completely know so well about. I had never traveled to Europe before, and I wanted to learn more about the culture and history of both countries.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

In Greece, I had the opportunity to visit the Parthenon in Athens. This is the temple that is dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. My study abroad group and I got to go with one of our study abroad professors who also like our tour guide of Greece. This was the first time I had ever heard about the Parthenon or the Acropolis in general. The Parthenon is on top of the Acropolis and has an incredible view of the city. My professor explained the history of the temple as well as the marbles that were stolen by the British from the Parthenon. I learned that Greeks have so much pride in their history as well as preserving it. This reminded me of my culture and its history which I am so proud of as well, so seeing how the Greeks reacted the same way made me feel a sense of home. I loved this site so much that I returned to the Parthenon and visited the Acropolis museum many times. I learned so much about the history as well as the gods and goddesses that make Greece and its people so unique.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My study abroad experience changed me in so many ways. I grew as a person and learned so much about the people I met in the countries I visited and the people in my study abroad group. I for sure got out of my comfort zone which is a goal I wanted to achieve. But I was able to become confident in myself during the times that I felt uncomfortable with my new surroundings in the different countries I visited. This gave me strength to not be afraid to try new things like trying to speak in the language of the country or trying traditional foods that I normally would not eat back home. I gained a new perspective on the world around me and my community back home because of my experiences abroad. I felt like I came home with new inspiration to contribute in new ways that I didn’t have before. My study abroad experience has given me so much inspiration and motivation moving forward to travel to new countries and learn so much more. I now have the strength and proof that I can fearlessly try things out of my comfort zone on my own and be successful in gaining many new experiences.

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?

This program fit perfectly in my academic plan and had all the elements I wanted in a Study Abroad program. I was able to expand my horizons in what I observed and what I absorbed from the new interactions and discoveries with the new people I meet. I became more aware about other countries and compared and contrasted them to the United States with how people socially interacted and why people have the beliefs that they do. My biggest passion is learning about people and why we live and act the way we do. I was very curious abroad about what forms a society and how culture affects its people. I wanted to expose myself to new cultures and ways of life which would help me better understand and better help people of diverse backgrounds and involvements in the future with the career I want to go into. I have been surrounded by people of such diverse backgrounds my whole life and I am known to be very curious about the world and people around me. This program personally helped me meet and connect with the same curious people and create very strong friendships with the classmates I studied abroad with.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Advice I would give CSB/SJU students who are considering studying abroad is to take the opportunity to do so if you can. This trip is truly life changing and you will see and learn so many incredible things about whatever countries you visit. There are not many opportunities to study in a different country and CSB/SJU has really amazing programs that focus on truly getting a unique learning experience as well as having an incredible journey as well. You learn so much and you get to embark on trips that you may not have done otherwise.