Jessica Wojtys, Italy
My study abroad experience was everything I imagined it would be, and more. I was in awe when I was finally able to see the amazing Ancient Roman monuments and architecture in person, rather than only in pictures on the internet and in magazines. The ISA program included students from nearly every part of the U.S., and we all became close friends right away. I still keep in contact with some of them and we plan to visit each other in our hometowns one day. The Italian people were so friendly and great to interact with, especially the ISA and the American University of Rome staff. The university was a small but beautiful campus, with gorgeous grounds and in a great location. The cuisine was absolutely phenomenal and 100 times better than I expected. Overall, four weeks wasn't enough to spend there and experience everything. I felt a little bit of culture shock halfway through the trip, but I got over it fairly quickly, especially because of how much fun I was having. Ever since I left Rome I've been feeling very Romesick... It's definitely on my bucket list to return again someday! I would recommend this as a perfect place for anyone who is thinking of studying abroad to look into.
I'm currently at Grand Valley finishing up my second-to-last semester. My senior project through the Frederik Meijer Honors College that I'm working on was inspired by my trip abroad - I'm writing a travel blog about my most significant and memorable experiences. Each blog post is influenced by lessons I learned along the way while studying and traveling abroad. I believe that experiencing a brand new culture has made me a changed person. I can now view the outcome of situations and examine the ways people act in a more neutral and unbiased light, because I've experienced so many unexpected situations, and also have interacted with multiple people with different cultural norms and ideals that I've never been previously exposed to. Being abroad on your own teaches you to make the best out of whatever life throws at you, as well as how to look at the world from a variety of perspectives. I highly suggest studying abroad for anyone who wants to learn and grow as a person while simultaneously exploring our beautiful planet.
Jessica Wojtys / Rome, Italy International Studies Abroad (ISA)
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