Anh Doan 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?
Well it is kind of a funny story actually. I decided to study abroad because of this one movie I watched when I was kid called The Lizzie McGuire Movie. I know it is a little bit of a weird reason to study abroad but it is the truth. During the movie the kids went to Rome for a couple weeks on sort of a May term kind of trip. They visited the great city of Rome and from that day forward I have been telling myself that if the opportunity ever presented itself in-which I could study abroad in Rome then I would not turn down the offer and go. After hearing this story you can see why I chose greco-roman because the city that was so wonderful in the movie when I was a kid was the magical city I wanted to visit when I was an adult.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The first weekend excursion we visited was a place called Cape Sounion on the tip of the Athenian shore. This place was recently put on a list that placed Cape Sounion on the top ten best sunset list, but that is not why the place left such a lasting impression. The reason why the impression was so impactful to me was the fact that I was in a different country! It wasn't just the eagerness to explore that left the impression, it was the fact that I was in a place that was completely across the ocean. The rest of the day was spent swimming in the Mediterranean and climbing all over the shoreline. That day was the most impactful and memorable, not because it was my favorite place we visited, but because it was the first time that it finally hit me that I was about he spend the rest of the semester doing something that I will never take for granted, neither should anyone else who studies abroad.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
The experience was something from a fairytale to me. It was just great from start to finish. Not to say that my experience was perfect, but it was far past any kind of expectations I had for this trip. The directors were awesome, my fellow Johnnies and Bennies were far greater than a man could ask for, and the programs encapsulated both countries so well. The education abroad office did a great job of organizing all the trips that we had. They really did an excellent job of arranging this for us so that the our was as trouble free as it could be.
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?
The first thing that I have learned while abroad is thought of family. I know this is really cheesy and everyone says these things after they study abroad, but my group of friends that traveled with me on this journey are my FAMILY now. There is no better way to put how important these group of fine Johnnies and Bennies mean to me. Prior to this trip I did not know many of the kids on this trip. The thought of leaving has given me an opportunity to give a retrospective view on my life thus far. My goals on this trip was to go outside of my comfort zone and basically live on my own in an environment that was not one that I was familiar with. It was like first day at college all over again. Not knowing a single thing about it, but still very excited to get started. The first few days in Greece were tiring, but it gave a burst of revival from the shock of living on my own. It gave me a sense of what "kind of" growing up feels like. It is not a race to the end, not even close, growing up is learning to adapt to what you have been given. With studying abroad there were many things that I had learned academically and personally, but the main thing that I really acquired was self-dependence. The act of living by myself was scary, but after a while you just pick up the skills as you go. It really is a skill that people should have and that is just survival skills. Navigating by myself and learning about what I can do by myself is really helpful in all fields of life.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Well, it is really hard for me to give advice past "just do it". Any kind of worry they may have can be calmed with many, many stories I have in my arsenal. If I was an ambassador I would not just try to convince them, but challenge incoming applicants to look past their fear and just do it. There is nothing that I would not have given up to re-experience what I just went through. It was 3 and half months of pure joy.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Greco-Roman? Email Anh at email@example.com