Alexandra Rothstein is an ambassador who studied abroad in Italy and Greece
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I have always had the desire to travel to new places in order to learn about different people and their unique culture. I had a strong interest in the program that goes to South Africa, however I had already been to Rwanda, Africa in high school so I wanted to try something new. I chose the program Roman Greco because I absolutely loved the idea that we had the opportunity to be completely immersed in two very different cultures in one semester. I could not think of a better program to accomplish my goal to travel as much as possible than the Roman Greco program.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
When I was in Rome, Italy I went with a few classmates and our theology professor to a Peace Vigil at the Vatican. The Peace Vigil was being held by Pope Francis to bring everyone together in order to send our thoughts and prayers to the people in Syria who were hurting but also to send Peace and Love. The audience surrounding the Pope was layers deep; I could not even see the end of it. I was shocked at how many people came out to see and participate in sending their hopeful thoughts to the people of Syria. In this moment, I felt completely happy; people from all over the world came together for one single cause -- to pray for peace. It was a truly life changing experience and something I will never forget being a part of.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience can be summed up into three words, educational, cultural and amazing!! Study abroad is not all fun and games; we went to class every day and learned so much! I really enjoyed the educational part of my trip because every class is centered around the people and culture of the country I was in. So I not only experienced the country but I was able to learn so much about it as well! My experience was also cultural because I was living for seven weeks in two different countries I had never been to before. I was able to meet and create relationships with people who lived in Rome and Greece. Finally, my experience was amazing because I traveled, I saw and I loved every single experience!
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?
Some of the benefits I experienced while spending a semester abroad was learning so much about myself, learning so much about others and being able to put my real life skills to the test. I learned how to be an independent person while I was abroad, I found out I can do things alone and it will not be scary or uncomfortable. I also feel I learned so many real world skills that will help me in my future and in my career. I learned how to communicate and make relationships with strangers who, at first glance, might not have anything in common with me, I also learned how to be a leader and an independent person which will help me in the future with my career path.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My first advice would be to GO! The thought of spending a semester in a foreign country may sound scary but it was easily the best experience I have had in college and possibly in my life! By studying abroad, you will learn so much about others by being immersed in a new culture and country but you will also learn so much about yourself and grow in ways you may have never thought you could!