Kelly 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?
I chose to study abroad in order to learn more about the world and those who inhabit it. I chose to study abroad because it provided me with a great opportunity to get the most out of a liberal arts education. I wanted to be able to see and be a part of what you are learning in my classes. I chose Greco-Roman specifically because I have always been fascinated with Greek culture.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
For my theology class in Athens, I had to interview someone who was Greek Orthodox about their religion. I didn't know who to ask, so I walked into a random wine shop and talked with a group of elderly men about their faith. In that meeting, I experienced the hospitality and warmth that Greeks are known for as they shared their meal with me, an uninvited guest. I also witnessed the passion of the Greeks as they talked honestly about their faith to a random stranger. In the United States, I would not have expected someone to share such personal facts with someone that they did not know. This experience had a lasting impression on me because during that exchange I felt in my heart what it meant to be Greek.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I cannot give enough positive praises for my study abroad experience. Greco-Roman brought me 29 new best friends that I cannot imagine my life without. My experience abroad consisted of lots of class field trips, papers, and reading assignments, but it was also filled with adventures with my program-mates, weekend getaways to places I've only ever dreamed of and new foods that I'm already missing after being home for a few weeks!
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?
Being separated from my close friends, family and home, I learned who I truly was when separated from everything I knew. Studying abroad helped me to discover what aspects of life really matter to me and made me a more independent person. Studying abroad also made me appreciate CSB/SJU, my family and my friends even more. In southern Europe, people move a lot slower and things are much less organized. At the beginning of my trip, this aspect of European life was challenging for me, but I believe that the differing lifestyle of the Greeks and Italians has made me a more patient and adaptable person, skills that will come in handy in my future career. Academically, studying abroad taught me that every subject, even those that seem to have no correlation to my major, are significant and interesting in their own way. My experience abroad made me much more appreciative of art and literature, and helped me to discover a love of theology I didn't know I had.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Studying abroad may seem daunting but I would encourage everyone to study abroad! Don't be afraid to explore new places, try new foods and experience new experiences. Some of the best things I experienced abroad were things I never would have thought I would like.