Andrea Driscoll is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Greece and Italy.
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Ever since fifth grade I have wanted to live in Italy. Throughout my life I have toyed with the idea of going there, whether it be a simple vacation or moving there for good. When I toured St. Ben's my tour guide mentioned study abroad. I was immediately drawn in. At that moment the idea of studying abroad had been planted within me. I was so intrigued by the idea of furthering my education on a global level. I had a number of friends who had done the Greco-Roman trip and their stories inspired me. I also have always dreamed of going to Italy. Hands down this was the trip for me.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
There were a number of cultural experiences that I encountered during my time over seas but I think the one that will forever stay with me occurred on my first night in Athens. That night the whole group, jet lagged yet eager for adventure, went wandering through our neighborhood in hopes of finding a restaurant. We finally found one that was open. We were seated outside and began to chat. Now besides being totally overwhelmed by the Greek language I couldn't help but to notice something else was a little different than an American restaurant, cats. There were cats everywhere, crawling up in the trees, weaving in and out of our feet, and begging for food. After having a good laugh about how we were no longer in the United States we soon discovered other Greek cultural ideas, a few being, meals last for hours, there is no such thing as separating the check, water is not free, and we needed to learn how to speak some Greek and fast!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Amazing, mind blowing, life changing, and a dream come true. These are just a few words that pop into my brain when I think of my abroad experience. I don't think there is a simple ways to describe my experience except to just say it was the best thing that has ever happened to me!
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Since study abroad I have become more confident. I have the mindset of, if I can survive on my own in Greece and Italy and can do it here as well. Plus, simply being able to navigate around Europe gave me the will power to do anything. I also really enjoyed having my classes on site, for example when studying Michelangelo it was so powerful to be able to look at The David instead of just a picture on a power point. Being abroad is such a wonderful experience and is life changing. It gave me a different outlook on life and also helped me become a more cultured person.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do everything! You are only there once so take advantage of all of the opportunities given. You should try ever flavor of gelato, get lost, ride a donkey, and meet locals, this is a once in a lifetime experience so make sure you don't hold anything back!