Program: Freshman Abroad: Destination Rome
Term: Fall 2015
Most of what I learned from my study abroad was simply about life in general. I learned how to navigate both in a directional sense and also in a social sense. Critical thinking became an essential aspect of my time abroad because situations did not always work out the way we wanted them to. Also, AUR is a very diverse school, so I was able to really begin to understand people from different backgrounds in company with what I was already learning from the Italian peoples. As far as a network, I still keep in touch with all of my close friends and one of my professors from my time there. (They are the only ones who don't get annoyed when I talk about study abroad!). Before participating my program, I knew I wanted to have a career that allowed me to travel. During my time there and upon my return, it became more and more of a tangible feat for the future.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: I encourage you to be confident in your identity. There is going to be prejudice every where you go. I even did an entire presentation in one of my classes at AUR on how my ethnic background played a role in how I was treated and how it shaped my understanding of the Italian people. Just because it exists doesn't mean it should dictate the quality of your time in wherever you choose to go!
I thoroughly believe that the four months I was in Rome were the best of my life, and that's the primary reason why I am such a huge advocate for studying abroad today. I learned so much there and grew up a great deal. So, if that is something you're looking to do in your time at university I highly recommend studying abroad. There's just no experience like it. There will be culture shock. You will get homesick. But the people you meet, the places you go, the stuff you get to do exceeds all of those negative attributes.