Sydney Haglund

Sydney is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy

Major: Communication

Minor: Global Business Leadership


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

The Greco-Roman program provided me with the opportunity to live in two different countries. I have always loved traveling, and wanted to experience a different culture and put myself into unfamiliar situations. Athens and Rome are very rich in religion, art, and history. The ancient Greek and Roman culture impacted many aspects of the modern world. These cities created the foundation of philosophic thought, the initial concept of democracy, the concept of mythology, and the Olympics. Athens and Rome are two of the oldest and most important cities in the world. I chose this program because this was where these subjects originated from, and I wanted to be able to experience them firsthand.                              

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

I believe that it is very important to experience cultural differences. One of the greatest values the Greeks and Romans have is family. Family is very important to their culture, just as it is in our own. Food, music, and religion are also greatly valued in these cultures. While living in Rome, we were given a lesson on how to make homemade pasta. It was interesting to learn about the tradition of making pasta that has been passed down for generations. Food is very important to Greeks and Romans, and they put a lot of effort into making every meal. Experiencing the similarities and differences between my culture and another shows me that despite our differences, the world is a small place, and we are all similar and connected.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Living abroad, I was always looking forward to the next excursion, trip, or city. There was never a dull moment. It was exciting to have new experiences everyday. It was very important to me to visit the historical places around the cities. Traveling abroad, we were given the opportunity to visit the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, Pompeii, The Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. These sites provided me with a better understanding of the ancient world. Studying abroad is full of life changing experiences. Cliff jumping and climbing a mountain were two experiences that made me more confident in myself and my abilities. They showed me that if I am not afraid to push myself and try new things, I can accomplish anything.

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 contributed to my personal, academic, and professional development in many ways. I gained more independence and self-assurance by experiencing and overcoming difficult situations while abroad. I improved my problem solving skills and expanded my comfort zone so I am now confident when facing unfamiliar situations. Being a Communication major and Business minor, I believe it is important for an employer to know that you are willing and capable of taking risks. Seeing that I am willing to travel and live in a county completely different than my own may increase the chances of me being hired for a job. I am hoping to work internationally sometime in my life, and I believe that studying abroad was the perfect opportunity for me to experience living in a different country before I begin my professional career.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

The advice I would give for CSB/SJU students considering this program would be to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Interact with locals and go out and explore the city you are in. There is always something new and exciting to experience. While you are abroad, travel to as many countries as you are able to. You will never have another opportunity to travel as conveniently or as affordably as you will while living abroad.