Margaret Hooley is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Rome and Greece.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My favorite part of my trip was waking up every Tuesday morning at 5 a.m for what we called " Tourist Tuesdays", so we could experience different parts of the cities without the distraction of tourists and locals flooding the streets. Seeing the sun rise over the Vatican, the Trevi fountain, the Acropolis, among many other places, were some of my fondest memories.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to gain experiences by traveling and learn things for my classes by actually being in the places I was learning about. I really liked that the program I chose (Roman-Greco) offered me multiple experiences and opportunities as well as theological, historical and art- focused studies.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Though it is hard to sum up in a few words just how amazing my experience abroad was, I would tell prospective students that this is an opportunity of a lifetime, one where you will make friends, see places that most people dream of, and live life to the fullest for 4 months-- It is one of the best decisions they could make to study abroad.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
Everyone always told me how much the trip would change my life, and it wasn't until I was there that I fully appreciated or understood what they meant. I was afforded the opportunity to turn 30 strangers into some of the best friends I will ever have; I got to travel the world and try things I never thought I would try; I got to know myself as an independent and adventurous individual, and I made memories that will last me a lifetime.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
To go into the experience with an open mind. I did not really care for my director before I left or my group for that matter, but I went into the experience totally willing to let people surprise me, and I even surprised myself. There will be times where you deal with money issues( I got fined on a train, robbed, and given wrong plane tickets to Istanbul) but if you do everything with the idea that it is an adventure and a funny memory just waiting to happen, the experience will be that much richer and more full.