Lauren is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Roman-Greco
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The first time I heard about the Roman-Greco Program as a prospective student, I had my heart set on this program. I absolutely love to travel, so I chose to study abroad to continue to broaden my horizons and learn about new parts of the world, while also pushing myself to become a more independent and confident individual. I decided on the Roman-Greco program, because it allowed me to fully immerse myself into not just one but two new cultures. This program also offered a lot of hands-on learning and many excursions to other cities in Italy and Greece, which really sparked my interest. I knew that Italy and Greece offered very different ways of life, and I was beyond excited for the opportunity to experience the rich history of each country.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During my time abroad, I had so many amazing experiences, so choosing just one is difficult! But one of my favorite memories from Italy was our weekend excursion to Pompeii and Sorrento. We started our trip with by visiting the historical ruins in Pompeii, which were incredible to see. It was crazy to wander through an ancient town still so intact after having been covered by volcanic ash for almost 2,000 years. After the tour at Pompeii, we traveled to Sorrento and spent the afternoon at the Amalfi Coast. The beach was so serene and picture-perfect! I remember the bus rounding a corner when the coast suddenly appeared, and we were all amazed that we actually got to spend the weekend there. It was one of those moments abroad that felt surreal and made me realize how truly lucky I was to have the opportunity to travel to such breathtaking places with an amazing group of people! That night we also had a delicious, traditional Italian dinner as a whole group, which was especially fun since food is such a large part of the Italian culture. The following day we took a boat to the Island of Capri and spent the day exploring the shops, swimming in the sea, and taking in the beautiful sights. The entire weekend trip made me beyond grateful for my opportunity to study abroad and was definitely one of my most memorable experiences.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Study abroad is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot be summed up into words! It is an opportunity to see and do so many incredible things while making countless memories, meeting extraordinary people, and gaining a greater appreciation for the little things in life. Every day was a new adventure, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of study abroad. I immersed myself into completely new ways of life in both Rome and Athens, learning invaluable lessons about myself and others.
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?
Spending a semester abroad is beneficial in so many ways. Personally, it pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone and helped me to gain independence and confidence. I learned to worry and stress less about the future and instead to live in moment and truly enjoy the present. Study abroad also introduced me to new ways of life and taught me to be more open-minded about other people and cultures. I’ve developed an appreciation for unfamiliarity, as it provides many opportunities to learn both about myself and others. Academically, I learned so much about the art, literature, religion, language, and culture of two very historical places. Even with a busy four year plan, study abroad fit right in, and this program helped me to complete many of my common curriculum courses. Professionally, study abroad helped me to gain confidence in myself and to think more globally and open-mindedly, which is critical as I enter into the business world. Additionally, I had many experiences with problem-solving and thinking on my feet, and I feel confident in my ability to translate those skills into my future career. Spending a semester abroad was a challenging but extremely rewarding experience and contributed to development in all aspects of my life!
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Always say yes! Study abroad is truly an unforgettable experience, and it is so important to take advantage of every opportunity. I encourage all students who study abroad to go out of their comfort zone, adventure to new places, meet new friends, and make memories to last a lifetime. Live in the moment and enjoy every minute of your experience. Take a ton of pictures and keep a journal to look back on after you return home. You won’t ever forget this amazing experience!