During my junior year of high school, I found myself researching and evaluating universities based on their study abroad programs. Although I was born in Sicily, I never truly considered myself Italian, so I wanted to attend a university with a study abroad program that would allow me to discover my roots.
I first came across John Cabot University on Wikipedia one day. No joke! I was reading about study abroad programs and found a link to John Cabot. Honestly, I did not believe that it was a real place at first because it sounded too good to be true. The following summer, my family and I were in Rome and stopped by the University for a tour. Although it was a miserably hot July afternoon, I fell in love with the campus, and in that moment, I knew that it would be the best place to continue my education.
Throughout my time at John Cabot, I met people from the United States, Italy, and many other countries around the world. At first, the world seemed so big, as I was meeting people from countries I barely knew existed. In the classroom, we reflected on political issues, culture, technology, and media, deepening our perspective of the world and learning the importance of keeping an open mind to tackle global problems.
Outside of the classroom, we explored one of the most beautiful cities in the world. On the weekends, we would leave the apartment with no particular destination in mind, and walk alongside historic streets and serendipitously find hidden gems around the city. Sometimes we would come across sites like the magnitude of the Pantheon; other times we would stumble upon just a small abandoned religious altar on the side of an old building, or a hidden garden in the most unexpected of places. JCU allowed me to earn my Bachelor’s degree using the American education system, while living and re-discovering the Italian lifestyle.
JCU was not entirely what I expected. It was better. I found a strong sense of community and wanted to become a larger part of it. I joined student government, and was elected president of it my senior year. I used this opportunity to truly listen to the voice of the student body and to be the liaison with the administration in all school-related matters. My team and I accomplished so much in one short academic year, by simply listening and understanding the common goals between members of the community. We led school-wide conversations on cultural and academic events, and planned events that reinforced a sense of community. Whether we were hosting formal galas at five-star hotels or meals cooked by students in the campus courtyard, we celebrated our multiculturalism. This eventually made me realize how small the world really is, and how people from every corner of the globe have more in common than meets the eye. It doesn’t matter where you are from, as long as you are willing to connect, protect, explore, and inspire the world through innovation.
I currently still live in Rome and work as a junior administrative assistant for a Fortune 500 company. The principles of patience and open-mindedness I developed during university are still strong, and they are very much applicable in my career as I work closely with professionals from around the globe.
And my next stop? I’m not sure, but I’m certain that I am ready for whatever the world throws at me.
Class of 2016
International Business major and Communications Minor
Grew up in Italy and The United States