An Everlasting Experience
Maxine, SAI Ambassador, 2019
October 9, 2019

Taken during a boat cruise on my favorite destination abroad, the island of Capri, Italy

What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?

With the ease of access to travel while abroad in Europe, it is tempting to want to visit as many countries as possible. However, you will regret doing this. While I obviously recommend taking advantage of cheap flight prices, I also think that a crucial part of the study abroad experience is getting to know the city you’re living in for a semester. Don’t overbook yourself in the beginning with jam-packed weekends of traveling throughout Europe! Instead, you should venture out into your local community and experience everything your host city has to offer. During the five months I lived in Rome, I was able to visit eight different countries as well as discover several neighborhoods within the metropolitan area of Rome, such as: Monti, Trastevere, and Trieste.

A scenic overlook of the city of Lisbon, Portugal

What was your favorite class abroad and why? 

Studying abroad, I had the opportunity to take classes that wouldn’t have been possible for me to experience at my home institution. Most of my classes were oriented around the humanities, such as Classical Mythology and several history courses. One of my personal favorites, due to my love for history, was a course entitled the History of Ancient Rome. This class enabled us students to learn about specific historical instances which shaped the course of Roman history, while simultaneously allowing us the opportunity to experience first-hand the historic monuments that we had just discussed in class. This class allowed me to develop a deeper connection with the content I was learning throughout the semester, as well as offering a personal connection with historic monuments throughout my host city.

This picture was taken during a tour of the island of Burano, a small Italian fishing city known for its colorful houses and delicious “esse” cookies

What does your study abroad experience mean to you?

Personally, studying abroad allowed me to grow as an individual, especially in terms of developing my own independence. While SAI programs offer support whenever needed, they also allow for you to evolve as your own person in a foreign country. Studying abroad pushed me to overcome fears that I never thought I could get through on my own. Living in another country for an extended period of time is challenging; living in a country that is non-English speaking is even harder. However, my communication skills and my ability to explain myself have developed dramatically, which is a skill I can utilize within my own professional experience in the future. I also created lasting bonds with other study abroad students from universities spanding from Hawaii to Nebraska to Vermont. My study abroad experience has allowed me to establish a foundation of independence, while simultaneously offering me the opportunity to create invaluable friendships that are indispensable and everlasting.

My favorite photo spot in front of the Colosseum

A building decorated for the Mayfair Flower Show in London, England

Maxine was a Spring 2019 Rome student from Muhlenberg College.

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