Why I Chose to Study Abroad in Rome: My Experience

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By: Carolyn Schwartz

Traveling abroad as a student can be an incredibly enriching and transformative experience. I studied abroad during the fall semester of 2023 and it was an amazing experience! I wanted to share my personal experiences while studying abroad and some advice to those thinking about studying abroad! 

Studying abroad is great for culture exposure. Studying abroad exposes you to new cultures, traditions, and ways of life. It's a chance to broaden your horizons and develop a more global perspective, which can be valuable in an increasingly interconnected world. It is also a great way to challenge yourself! Living in a foreign country challenges you to adapt and become more independent. You'll learn to navigate unfamiliar situations, solve problems, and develop self-reliance, all of which contribute to personal growth and maturity.

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Read More: Why Study Abroad? Top 7 Benefits of Studying Abroad

The CIEE abroad program offers unique courses and educational opportunities that you may not find at your home institution. This deepened my knowledge in my field of study and allowed me to explore new subjects while also immersing myself in a different culture. My major at ASU is communication and being able to study courses for my major in a different country was so fascinating and I felt I learned topics in a new light. If you're studying in a country where a different language is spoken, like I was, you'll have the chance to improve your language skills significantly through immersion. Being bilingual or multilingual is a valuable asset in today's job market. While living in Rome CIEE offered a FREE Italian class that met a couple times a week. I took advantage of this free class and now I know some Italian! 

Studying abroad leads to lifelong friendships and even romantic relationships. The connections you make during your time abroad can be incredibly meaningful and enduring. While attending CIEE I met so many people all over the world. I also met so many friends from my home institution that I would’ve never had the opportunity to meet if I didn’t chose this program! Studying abroad has helped me to make so many great connections and it forces you to really put yourself out there in ways you aren’t used to. Building a global network of friends and professional contacts can open doors to future opportunities. You'll meet people from diverse backgrounds who can offer unique insights and perspectives.

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Lastly, what better way to travel the world than to live in a country outside of the United States! Being in a foreign country allows you to explore neighboring regions and countries more easily. Take advantage of weekends and breaks to travel and see new places. While living in Italy there wasn’t a single weekend I didn’t take full advantage of living abroad and being able to travel for much cheaper. I have visited over 7 countries in my semester here and it has made me realize how much I LOVE to travel!!

To make the most of your study abroad experience, immerse yourself in the local culture, engage with the community, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain a sense of curiosity and open-mindedness. Be sure to plan your finances carefully, stay organized with your coursework, and keep in touch with your loved ones back home. Ultimately, studying abroad is an investment in yourself and your future, offering a unique opportunity for personal and academic growth that you'll carry with you throughout your life.

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