Emma is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece & Italy
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I grew up in a town where I didn't experience many other cultures, and I wanted that experience because I love to learn and have those experience that enable me to grow. I loved the fact that Greco-Roman allowed me to live in two different countries and amongst two different cultures. They were two different experiences and I loved and appreciated both. I chose Greco-Roman over Roman-Greco because I loved that the history built on itself in that order, and I wanted other unique opportunities that weren't available on Roman-Greco, for example, hiking Mt. Olympus.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One cultural experience that resonated with me was our opportunity to take a Greek dancing class. It was so fun to have a Greek dance teacher come in and teach us some traditional dances to Greek music, and we all had so much fun with it. We had a special opportunity at the end where he asked us to teach him a dance that's big here, so we put on the Cupid Shuffle and taught him how to do that! I just loved that we were able to have that exchange of cultures.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Everyday brought about something new and special. I felt it was special to live abroad because it's a totally different experience than traveling. The classes we took were fairly demanding, but worth it because we learned so much about Greece and Italy. Each class we were in included many trips outside the classroom where we were able to go to sites like the Acropolis, Pantheon, and Vatican City. It brought so much more value to the classes.
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?
Some of the benefits are learning independence and becoming much more relaxed and understanding what's worth it to get stressed about. You're thrown into caring for yourself completely - making sure you have food and other things like that. I found myself understanding that certain things weren't worth it to get worked up about, and I left study abroad with a much more laid back temperament. These things have helped me personally, academically, and professionally because I can be a much better and invested friend, maintain a much more relaxed state when I am stressed, and will be easier for people to work with me in the future.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
We had a running list of advice for the next group that would go on our program, but I'd say that, if you're hesitant, go for it. This is really the only time in your life where you will have an opportunity to do something like this. It may be difficult, but I believe it's worth it. If finances are an issue, maintain a strict budget to help keep that in check.