Francesca completed a Gap Semester with SAI Programs at John Cabot University in Rome, Fall 2020.
What motivated you to pursue a gap semester abroad?
COVID was the main reason. I was going to be attending courses online, at home, and I really wanted the college experience especially because it was my first year of college. So I started looking at different options, and I came across SAI Programs.
What attracted you to SAI’s program in Rome?
I really wanted to study in Italy because I am Italian. I chose Rome specifically because I had visited before and really enjoyed it, but this time I wanted to live there. It’s such a beautiful city and I wanted to have a more immersive experience.
What was the highlight of your semester in Rome?
I really liked all of the SAI activities & excursions, and going to museums like the Vatican. I also took a few weekend trips on my own with my roommate. Even though we weren’t able to leave Italy, I loved being in Italy because there’s plenty to see and we got to fully experience Rome.
How have you benefitted from your gap semester abroad?
It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, especially with the language. I speak Italian, but it’s still intense to be in a country that speaks a different language. I liked that, because it helped me improve my Italian by filling in the gaps.
I had also never lived by myself before so that was a new experience, so was having a roommate! Overall it was a great experience and opportunity to be out of my comfort zone.
Did you have any challenges during your semester?
Living on my own was difficult at first, but I definitely appreciated it after the initial shock and I got used to it. It was hard being away from my family, but I got to visit my grandma who lives about an hour outside of Rome.
Why should other students consider a gap semester abroad? What advice would you give to future gap students?
I think it’s a good opportunity to study abroad if you don’t know when else you’ll be able to do it. So if you have the opportunity, you should take it! Even if it’s difficult at the beginning, you’ll appreciate that you’ve done it afterwards. I feel like it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and a gap semester is a perfect opportunity to do that.
What are you doing now (Spring 21)?
COVID actually changed my plans again! I was planning to go to school in New Orleans, but with how COVID has been there, I decided to defer until next year and take courses at a local college. It’s a lot more cost effective and I’m still getting some credits done.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Francesca!
Questions? Let’s chat!
Ready to apply? We are now accepting applications for Fall 2021 Gap Semester programs!