UMD: A Globally Connected University

Amber Chaney

Program: Maryland-in-Rome
Term: Summer 2016

Most beneficial for me was the eye opening experience in seeing just how different things are from the United States. A entire world exists outside our norm, where people live differently in their day to day functions. My new skills and knowledge were in adapting to the Italian way of life that is simplistic, in hand washing and drying clothes, preparing my own meals, and using public transportation. I learned to appreciate my great privilege in having things that make my life easier back home, and also ways I can learn to live more simply like how I did in Italy.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I advise all students to be open minded and friendly. Try new foods, travel to places alone (when safe), and don't hesitate to step out of your comfort zone! As a woman and a stranger to Italy, I had to be more aware of my surroundings and more cautious then I would be home. If i ventured out alone, I did it during the day and also in my travels, I let many people know where I was and when I'd return. Make friends with your university peers and roommates and keep in touch with them. It's a good support system while abroad.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Cairo, Egypt for a weekend while abroad in Italy. It was a short three hour flight and I was able to see the historic pyramids and beautiful Egyptian culture. Most astounding was the number of things that originated from Egypt. Egyptians were innovators in their technology and architecture. From the pyramids, to Hieroglyphics, down to ink, clocks, paper and makeup, Egyptians were creators and masterminds of many of the things we know and use today. Many things that should be attributed to African origins aren't, and could be beneficial to our knowledge of culture in this country. The Teatro dell'Opera di Roma (Rome Opera House) is a historic opera house in Rome, Italy. On my final night in Italy, I saw an amazing opera performance there  and was amazed to see even these historic walls painted with Egyptian people and history. It  was great testimony to the legacy of Egypt.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: My advice to all is to dive in. Don't let any fears deter you from studying abroad. There are many scholarships, helpful organizations, and programs so it's accessible to anyone. I began planning and applying for scholarships a year in advance. With proper planning and commitment, it is possible, so don't let any hardships deter you from accomplishing abroad study, it is worth it!