Study Abroad Student Spotlight: Kendal Merrill, Fall 2017

My semester abroad at John Cabot University was unforgettable. I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my life to travel to some amazing places, but I’d never actually lived anywhere this far away from home. I come from a very small town in Ontario, Canada, and living in a big city was a very new experience for me.

I had finished my Digital Photography degree at Niagara College in Ontario before I came to John Cabot, but I knew I wanted to grow personally and develop my passions. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could about photography, so I figured: why not experience it in a place that thrives on and lives through art?

The biggest goal I made for myself when moving to Italy and starting out at JCU was to make sure I immersed myself in the culture and experienced everything I possibly could. I think I definitely did that! During my four months abroad, I traveled to 25 different cities in seven different European countries. Travel became my new best friend and I am so grateful for that.

I learned so much during my time at John Cabot University and I grew so much as a person. I was lucky enough to share this experience with my younger cousin, who also studied at JCU during the same semester. She is one of my best friends and I feel incredibly grateful to have created memories with her that will last forever. We were also very lucky to have a lot of our family and friends come visit us while we were in Italy, and that made the experience even better.

When I first started college, study abroad was something I never thought I would do. I’m a homebody and love to be with my family and close friends. With that being said, I’m so very happy that I did it! If you’re someone who doesn’t think you can do a semester abroad, I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and try. I promise you won’t regret it. The people you meet along the way and the incredible experiences you will gain will most definitely outweigh your homesickness and fears. Your family and true friends will always be there when you return, and will be very eager to hear your stories and see pictures!

If you take only one thing away from reading this blog post, let it be this: Get out of your comfort zone and do it. Thank you so much to JCU, Italy, and Europe for my first study abroad experience; I will never forget it.


Kendal Merrill
Study Abroad Fall 2017
Digital Photography Major
Niagara College

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