A few weeks ago I asked you guys to DM me or comment on my Instagram with your study abroad questions. I had such an amazing experience abroad that I want to answer any and all questions that might persuade YOU to go abroad as well!
What made you decide to study abroad?
I’ve wanted to study abroad for as long as I could remember! It was always this romantic notion in the back of my head to live abroad for an extended period of time and meet college students from around the country. One of my best friends went abroad last summer, and I was living vicariously through her experience. Her pictures and stories gave me this insane sense of wanderlust and my mentality went from “hopefully one day…” to “if I don’t do it now, when will I ever?” To be completely honest, the thought of going abroad for a month, not knowing anyone and being apart from my family and friends definitely almost deterred me from going more than a couple times. When I was searching for programs, locations and classes, it all seemed to click, and the pieces seamlessly fell into place, forming my ideal study abroad experience. One, I would be in Florence, a city I had only ever dreamed about. Two, Virginia Tech would accept a junior level class as a senior level credit. Three, this program was actually affordable, and I was offered a $500 travel voucher for applying early. Win, win, win! (Read more about the program I went with below!)
Why did you study abroad over the summer?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I changed my major at the start of my sophomore year from a double major in Fashion Merchandising & Design and Marketing, to Communication studies with a minor in Fashion Merchandising & Design. Basically, sophomore year I had to start all over and take on a full, 21-credit-hour course load to try and get back on track for graduation. Because of this, studying abroad over the summer was my perfect solution because I wasn’t missing classes but rather doing summer school to keep myself on track.
Which program did you go abroad with?
I studied abroad with CEA, and I loved absolutely loved my experience! CEA offers summer programs from Argentina to Germany and a multitude of classes within each program. I did the Made in Italy: Italian Taste & Aesthetics program based in Florence, and took the Communication and Global Competence course within that program. During my summer term, there were only about 40 of us in the entire program, which broke down to only eight people being in my same Communication class. I love small classes because they allow for conversational learning rather than lecture style. I also loved how small the program was because we got to know everyone really well, especially the girls in my class!
Was it difficult to meet people while abroad?
No! Everyone is so far outside of their comfort zone that friendships were formed almost immediately. We all went to dinner that first night, split a couple bottles of wine, and the rest was history. I will say that I got really lucky because I had seven roommates that were all amazing. Normally when you get that many girls together there’s drama and tears, but this was a solid group of girls that I love and miss so much. Going abroad is like being a freshman in college again, don’t be afraid to randomly start a conversation with a stranger!
Do you still want to learn more about my study abroad experience? Stay tuned! My travel guide to Italy, answering all your questions about food, hotels and travel within Italy, is going live on the blog next week! You can also check out my 36 Hour Guide to Milan!