I made a last-minute decision to study abroad in Rome during the fall of my junior year. I had always known that I wanted to travel, but I had never been out of the country or traveled much with my family, so it was a bit of a scary idea to me.
I had two friends who decided to study abroad together, and they jokingly said, “Chrissy, you should come,” to which I answered, “Wait, really?” After that conversation, I went into my room and immediately filled out the application, which was due two days later. Little did I know that I was about to embark on the best experience of my life.
Acclimating to Rome and Choosing Classes
Once I got to John Cabot University in Rome, the other incoming students and I were taken through an extensive orientation, allowing us to meet a lot of new students from different countries and find out more about our classes.
What I would suggest is trying to take one class that doesn’t look “normal.” For example, my Intercultural Communications class was a great experience! It allowed me to adapt to Italy much faster as well as learn about so many other countries because my classmates were from around the world. I also had roommates who took on-site classes where they would walk around the city together and go to different museums and learn about the history of Rome, which I was always jealous of. I would suggest taking a type of class like this!
I know it is difficult because every student is on a strict four-year plan leading to graduation, but a lot of these ended up counting toward graduation requirements!
Coming Out of my Shell
Studying abroad was the absolute best experience of my life. I am generally a reserved person and have never had a lot of confidence, so leaving my family and close friends who have always been my “safety net” at home seemed like the hardest thing I could have ever done. Still, I realize that I never would have been able to experience all that I did without taking this huge risk and without pushing myself to do something that I knew I really wanted to do.
Once I got to Rome, I did still get homesick in the beginning, but that soon changed. I started to get excited about the different countries I was traveling to, and I just wanted to keep exploring! I even ended up going on a few trips by myself, which I never thought I would have enough confidence to do–my family was shocked as well.
Changed for Life Because of Studying Abroad
While I thought at the time that leaving my family would be the hardest thing, in the end, it was leaving Rome and leaving all of my new friends and the second home that I fell in love with that was so much harder. I can’t wait until I get to go back and show some of my family and friends the amazing Italian life that I lived!
So, if you couldn’t tell, I would recommend studying abroad and John Cabot University to everyone. John Cabot was such a great help in learning to adapt to a foreign country. They really made sure we knew that we had a support system no matter where we were. I am a completely different person because of my experiences abroad, and these experiences will continue to influence who I am for the rest of my life.
Psychology and Justice, Community, and Leadership Major
Saint Mary’s College of California
Study Abroad Fall 2019