Megan is an Ambassador who studiedabroad in Greece and Italy.
Minor: Exercise Science Sports Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Although traveling has always been a dream of mine, studying abroad was something I never thought that I would be able to do- emotionally or financially. I was very much a home-body and already had debt up to my ears, but when the opportunity to go abroad came about I decided to take on the challenge. Going to Greece has always been one of my greatest wishes and Italy as well was on the top of my list, so the choice was easy. Plus, how incredible is it to get to live in two completely different countries in Europe during the span of four months. Roman-Greco was the obvious choice for me.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During the Greece portion of this trip, we were given the opportunity to volunteer at the Athens Authentic Marathon. This was such an incredible experience. Not only did I get to hand out water, work with people from different countries, and watch the finish line from within the first Olympic stadium, but I got to witness a true coming together of all cultures and diversities of the world. The stadium was in an uproar every time someone came into the finish line. There were people from different religions, beliefs, and countries; enemies as declared by their governments acting as one cheering for all, and even the racers of different nationalities were helping each other to a common goal. It truly was a beautiful thing.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Amazing. Incredible. Unbelievable. There is no way to describe my overall study abroad experience that would do it justice. I grew so much as an individual. I made life long friends. I got to see the world and explore. I learned an insane amount. I caught the travel-bug; I cannot wait to go back! These were a life-changing 4 months of my life and I would never trade them for anything in the world.
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?
There are so many incredible benefits of spending a semester abroad. That which I hold nearest and dearest to my heart is my study abroad family. They all truly made the experience what it was for me. Of course there are other benefits as well that I am so very thankful for; such as getting out of my comfort zone, (and language zone), having to adapt to a new culture and becoming immersed in that culture, being truly independent, learning to take every opportunity you get and to be spontaneous, and most obviously, learning about and seeing our great, beautiful world. Studying abroad has contributed to my personal development by giving me the opportunity to face my fears and to really find what kind of person I want to be, (as corny as that sounds). It has contributed to my academic development because I got to study hands-on and learned more than I could have in any classroom. Finally, it has contributed to my professional development by helping me become more diverse, culturally understanding, able to adapt, and seeing the world has helped me to understand all the things I can do to improve it.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go for it, you will never regret it. Take every opportunity you get. Travel any time you can. Journal so you will never forget anything. Be open to new experiences. Love your new family. Be spontaneous (but safe). Remember that a $100 plane ticket now when you are over seas is less expensive than a $1,500 one later to go all the way back. Eat a lot and be active enough to balance it out. Get to know the locals. Have fun! (Oh, and study a little too).