Emma is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
When I first looked at CSBSJU during my college search, one of the first things that stuck out to me was the study abroad opportunities. Some schools offered a few programs, but St. Ben's surprised me with the variety of programs as well as the high percentage of students that chose to study abroad. My family heritage is strongly Italian and I had always wanted to visit Greece so when I saw the Greco-Roman program, I knew I had to go.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
For one of our theology classes, we were lucky enough to attend a papal audience. Being in the presence of someone so important, yet so genuine and kind is something I will never forget. Hearing Pope Francis talk about loving all of our neighbors in the beautiful Vatican City was by far one of my favorite memories.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Study abroad helped me become more independent and taught me how to appreciate a number of different cultures. The world doesn't seem as big and scary when you actually get to explore it and studying abroad allows you to make connections you wouldn't be able to make in central Minnesota. It also helped me to become more adaptable and learn how to adapt to any circumstance and simply embrace what's thrown at me.
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 provides countless benefits. Taking classes allows you to continue your academic development but offers it in a new, interactive way as you become part of what you're learning through the culture. Meeting with locals helps you make connections which can lead to lifelong friendships or even potential job opportunities. Studying abroad teaches you independence as well as confidence in that you prove to yourself you can not only live in a new place, but you can thrive there.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Even if it seems scary, do it. Don't let nerves stop you because this experience will give you some of the best memories for your life. Get out of your comfort zone and be willing to try new things. Embrace new cultures and let them become a part of you.