Nick McGrane ’24

Program: London Semester

Major: Individualized (Film) and Communication

Minor: Hispanic Studies, Sociology

Athletic Team/Club: Ultimate Frisbee

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

I chose to study abroad because of all the great things I heard from CSB+SJU alums. Also, I’ve always had a desire to travel and see more of the world, so the opportunity to do it as a student was very exciting to me. I chose the London program because in addition to seeing more countries, I also wanted to feel what it is like to live in a city bigger than Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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

There were many cultural experiences in London, but the more memorable differences came when I traveled to European countries. Specifically, I experienced the culture of Italy as I observed their more laid back and calm lifestyle. I would stand at cappuccino bars each morning and immerse myself in the Italian way of life.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Overall, I think my experience abroad opened my worldview and made me more perceptive to how society operates in America. It was refreshing to see other places and people after spending nearly my whole life in one place. I also learned about the realities of travel and living in a city which can be talked about but makes a much larger impact when experienced first-hand.

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 countless benefits, but I think the largest was being forced out of my comfort zone. There are much more genuine and valuable emotions that can only be experienced when you are put in a foreign environment. In turn, I think I gained development in empathy, patience, and positivity. Another huge benefit is improvement of communication skills due to the new interactions with classmates and people from different cultures.

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

My biggest advice would be to follow your gut and not to worry about the details. Studying abroad was my most formative semester at CSB+SJU, but to get there, you need to take the leap of faith and have an attitude to explore.