Student Spotlight: Kelly Simons, JCU Class of 2015

I came to John Cabot because I wanted to experience a new culture and learn a new language. My family on my father’s side originates from Italy, so I thought why not get closer to my roots? JCU helped me through the application process and everyone I was in contact with seemed very friendly and accommodating so I chose to go here.

I absolutely love history. I believe we can’t understand where we’re going to take ourselves in life unless we understand where we, or our ancestors, have been. Rome was eye-opening and full of so much history that I immediately fell in love with the city. I’ve never been able to do that in a foreign place before.

This experience has helped me cement in my mind how I won’t let anything (especially not the student visa process!) get in the way of my dreams. I’ve pushed myself both academically and personally in order to come to school here and it’s been humbling. Knowing you worked hard for something and were finally able to achieve it is a wonderful feeling. This feeling will drive me in my future endeavors both professionally and personally.

So far, Dublin has been my favorite city that I have visited. The accents were beautiful, the nightlife was so lively, and everyone was extremely friendly. And the city itself is quite beautiful.

Be mindful of the culture shock you get when you come here. Some of the customs and ways of doing things may seem weird to you, but to others it’s completely natural. Keep your mind open and you’ll have the time of your life. At times, things here seem so free and laid back. You can’t really get that back in the states. Everyone is always on the move and always stressed.

My favorite food here is definitely the pizza. Italians put so many different things on pizza and, oddly enough, it’s all-delicious. The most meaningful souvenir would have to be my family tree from when I visited Dublin. I went into a little shop and found out they can print out family trees and so I asked for one. Being able to connect to my mother’s roots was fantastic.

The best photo I’ve had taken was when I was in Dublin at a pub that had live music playing. My friend and I had face paint on from another pub and I asked her to take a picture of me. I usually don’t take too many pictures of myself while I’m abroad. But I wanted to document how happy and excited I was at that very moment and you can easily see it on my face.

Ironically, I didn’t forget to pack anything. At first, I did feel as if I was missing something, but eventually I realized it was my family and friends that I was missing and not a possession of mine. It’s hard leaving people and even material objects behind, but it can also be very freeing and exciting to be on your own.

I’ve been living in Rome for about six months now and I still run into language barriers. I’ve come a long way in terms of learning the language from when I first arrived, but I still have a long way to go!

Kelly Simons
Communications Major
JCU Class of 2015
Washington State, USA

Student Spotlight