Devon is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Italy and Greece
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I have always known I wanted to study abroad. It was something I was determined to do before I graduated from college. I was less certain about the location I wanted to go simply because there were so many possibilities and so many places on my list! I was first drawn to the Roman-Greco program because Italy was one of the countries at the top of my list and Greece was a close second. The other appeal was that I had the opportunity to visit two countries during my semester abroad. I knew I wanted to travel as much as I could during my semester abroad so I figured that studying in two different countries was a good place to start.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While in Rome my group had the opportunity to attend the canonization of Mother Teresa.
It was an amazing to be able to witness that historical moment. It is definitely not something that happens often! It took place on a during our first couple weeks in Rome. We had to wake up extremely early in order to walk to the Vatican and stand in line because we wanted to make it into St. Peter’s Square. There were people from all over the world that had made the trip to be there. Although much of the mass was in Italian and Latin and it was hard to understand, I knew the reason so many people were crowding around. The atmosphere and all of the people gathering is something I will never forget, and I get to say that I was there when it happened!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was amazing. It is so hard to try and describe it in a few words and to narrow it down even a little bit! It was incredible and life-changing and everything cliché that people say about study abroad. Every day was a new adventure and I still felt the need to pinch myself to make sure that it was really happening! I had the opportunity to experience many wonderful things (including traveling to 11 countries!) during my semester and it made me want to travel even more because I loved every second. My 4 months flew by in the blink of an eye but I came home with so many new stories, experiences and memories that I will continue to look back on.
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?
The benefits to study abroad are truly endless. I learned so much while abroad about myself and my surroundings. I grew so close with many members of my group and at the same time gained more independence and confidence. The experiences I had abroad will also carry over to my professional career after college. Studying abroad truly opens your mind and makes you think in different ways. During my semester, I was able to fully embrace two different cultures while learning more about each one and myself. There is some learning that just can’t be done in the classroom but instead by getting out and exploring all that the city has to offer! Like everything else in life, there will be some challenges but they help you to grow, learn and adapt.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
DO IT! If there is any part of you even thinking about study abroad at all, it is something you strongly consider. Talk with students who have studied abroad and chances are they all wish they could go back, I know I do! There won’t be another opportunity like this again and as cliché as it sounds, it will be the experience of a lifetime. You will have the chance to make so many memories and have so many experiences that will make it a semester you’ll always remember!