The college application process is daunting, and not exactly “as advertised”. In my experience, the four years of high school that lead up to senior year and the infamous college application season felt almost life-or-death. The steady exposure to college gear advertising big-name universities tugged on my heartstrings and, in retrospect, conditioned me to value colleges based on my perception of their prominence. I felt like I absolutely had to get into the top universities in my state to get a “worthwhile” education, because that’s just what you do. For example, this fall I have three friends who will attend Stanford University; two who will attend USC; and many others attending UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UC San Diego, and San Diego State University.
Within this academic environment, it was actually the Italian language program at my high school, instead of my AP or IB classes, that led me to look at international options. I am grateful for the opportunities and education I have received thanks to these programs, but nothing has shaped my worldview more dramatically than participating in my school’s Italian exchange program during my junior year. Two weeks in the Veneto region were life-changing: suddenly the world was big and very real. Growing up, I remember having conversations with adults about “the future” and college and other scary things. Travel, and world travel in particular, was always a big deal and I’ve lost count of how many different people had told me: “Travel! It was the best experience,” or “I wish I’d traveled more!” So, to everyone’s surprise, I actually took their advice.
Upon my return from the exchange, I began to look abroad for universities and stumbled across John Cabot University. Getting caught up in Californian culture can be deceptively “chill” and I desperately needed something different. Italy is that “something” for me. College is about higher education… but it is also about the “clichés”: finding yourself, exploring your environment, figuring out what you want to do, learning to express yourself. I felt like I couldn’t do all that at home. There is only so much you can read about the world in textbooks, and there are only so many pictures and videos that can visually recreate the experience. The rest is a you-had-to-be-there deal.
So, when it comes to Rome and the experience that John Cabot University offers, you should be there! I think that a major component of taking part in the greater global community involves immersion in a foreign culture, within an international environment. JCU is the perfect place to do just that. Receiving an American education abroad will enable me to continue my studies, but also to continue my personal growth. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and what’s bigger than the world? Rome is a multicultural city in an increasingly multicultural world, and I am so excited to continue pushing my boundaries outside the borders of everything I’ve known.
My first time in Italy was amazing. I understood that it is a cultural hub of both historic and modern activity. The weight of it all was palpable as I walked through the cobblestone streets. It was exciting, it was inspiring, and it felt like I was being challenged. I’ve always felt up to a challenge, and I can’t wait to get back there and join my future classmates, who are just as ready as I am to dive headfirst into this adventure!
Class of 2022
Hometown: Bonita, California, USA