Danielle is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Roman-Greco.
Major: Global Business Leadership
Student Athlete: Dance Team
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
From the minute I heard about the amazing study abroad programs at CSBSJU, I knew I wanted to go somewhere. One of my major draws to attend St.Ben's was how well organized and developed the programs were! I decided to go on Roman-Greco because I knew it would push me out of my comfort zone. Living and studying in completely different cultures from what I was use to was an experienced that I wanted. Another draw for me was the academic work. Being able to study art history in birth place of the Renaissance and to look at Greek tragedies in very place where the oral tradition began is an unmatched academic experience. The roman-greco program truly provides you with a immersive experience, integrating both cultural and historical elements into everyday life. Added bonus-- you get to live in two of the most beautiful countries!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
On a weekend trip to Santorini, a few of us book an airbnb together. We had read reviews prior that said that the host was terrific, but we had no idea. From the minute we stepped foot out of our taxi, we were embraced with hugs and broken English saying hello. Yala was the host and she wanted to know all of our names. The next morning, I was sitting outside admiring the views and Yala came out since she lived next door. She offered to take me to the "best view" in all of Santorini. I said yes and she brought me up to the view. She had brought me to a look out at an Orthodox Church, later going inside with her. She introduced me to all of the church elders and even taught me a Greek dance after kissing the icons. Something to note through this experience is that we could barely understand each other! It just goes to show how human kindness is universal and can shine through no matter the barrier.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Roman-Greco was an indescribable experience that flipped my world view completely. It is hard to frame the experiences I had, the people I met, and the things I did into words. It was amazing, difficult, sometimes frustrating, and most of all the best thing I did all of college. If you do anything at CSBSJU.....GO ABROAD! It will be a period of tremendous growth and facilitate transformation in ways you didn't even thing were possible.
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?
From abroad I gained many skills that translate directly into a professional atmosphere. I feel that I am more confident in my ability to take charge and the lead in team situations. Many times abroad you have to step up to the plate in order to get to point A to point B. For a Gbus major, I feel that study abroad has given me experiential learning that will prepare me for a global job market. Through studying abroad, I have gained a global perspective that will contribute to my learning, academic and professional development.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Even if you have a slight urge into to go abroad, do it! Abroad is challenging and scary sometimes, but it is truly amazing. Just go for it, you won't regret it.
However here are three words of practical advice:
1. Don't be afraid to ask for help! I felt a little weird doing this at first since I might have been breaking cultural norms....SO WHAT! If you have no idea where you're going, ask someone. I utilized google translate for language barrier issues.
2. Take any opportunity to interact with locals. My best memories abroad were when I talked and made connections with people from different cultures.
3. Take every moment as a learning experience. Notice when your personal beliefs conflict with other cultures--analyze it, ask yourself why do I have these feelings. These moments will be catalyst for shifts in perspective.