Student Spotlight: Sabrina Porterfield-Strach, Study Abroad Fall 2018

Why Am I Excited to Study Abroad at JCU?

The one thing you hear from adults after they have graduated is how they regret not studying abroad. As I am headed into my last two semesters of college, I decided that I didn’t want that to be me. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was going to be in college for an extra year finishing my degree and that I would have stories to tell about my amazing experience for generations to come.

I chose John Cabot University because it’s located in the place I’ve always wanted to go most in the world— Rome. Not only that, but when I was looking into the study abroad program, I felt like it was an institution I could trust if I ever needed help during my stay in an entirely different country. Like the Type A personality I can be sometimes, I have watched and read hundreds of videos and blogs about JCU and studying abroad in general and I have read over and over again not to go in with any expectations. If I wanted to expect anything, it was to expect that this experience was going to be one of the best experiences of my life. I learned that no crazy amount of preparation could prepare you for an experience that is meant to be lived in the moment.

Now, I’d be lying if I said I was about to arrive in Rome in the Fall with NO expectations. If anything, I am expecting the experience to be challenging. I believe that humans learn the most from facing challenges and overcoming them and I believe that’s why many students come back from study abroad saying that they have developed so much more as a person. I hope that I can learn from the challenges I face abroad, such as learning how to navigate myself through a new country with no cell phone data or trying to communicate with others despite there being a language barrier. The challenge is going to be super exciting, but so are the other little things that are experienced during study abroad.

I am excited about experiencing new cultures first hand. It’s socially acceptable in America to go grocery shopping in penguin pajamas and buy three weeks worth of food, but in Italy, locals will shop for groceries every day while looking presentable. Speaking of groceries, I am excited about trying new foods and learning how to cook authentic Italian cuisine. If anything, I am a horrible cook and I will learn not to burn what I make. If I am being completely honest, I am a little nervous about leaving America and being independent in a country I’ve never been to before. However, being nervous has never stopped me from trying new things and I am thrilled to explore not only Italy, but a whole other continent itself.

All in all, I think I’m most excited about the learning experience. That might be a little cliche to say, but I am excited to see the kind of person I will develop into from studying abroad in Rome. I’ve already explored a lot of myself during the past four years of college and figured out where I want to go career-wise, but as I reach my fifth and final year, I don’t necessarily know myself as a person. I know that studying abroad at JCU is the final piece to truly discovering who I am and I cannot wait to finally meet that person.

Sabrina Porterfield-Strach
Study Abroad Fall 2018
Psychology Major
California Polytechnic State University

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