Bradley 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?
The Greco-Roman program was initially brought to my attention from hearing many stories of former students who went on the program. While deciding which program was for me, I was drawn to the Greco-roman and Roman-Greco programs because I saw them both as a great opportunity to have the most independent travel opportunity of all of the programs offered. The fact that I got to spend half of the semester in one country and half in the other also interested me a lot and made me want to choose the trip. Once I had decided on Greece and Italy, I ultimately chose to do the program Greco-Roman versus Roman-Greco because of the director and because of the logical progression of the classes, such as ancient history of Greece followed chronologically by the ancient history of Rome.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
In Athens, a group of friends and I were out for a run around the Panathenaic stadium and after we finished our run we met an old greek man named John and his two grandchildren. We ended up talking to him for well over an hour as each one of us cycled through playing with his two grandkids. Over the course of the conversation we heard a great deal about his life and experiences. In the process learned so much about the family culture of Greece. We got his number and called him later to meet again and chat. John was the first Greek local we really got to know and I am so incredibly happy that we got the opportunity to make such a nice friendship and learn so much about the culture and family life of the Greeks.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience was one that I have difficulty putting into words. To say that I had an amazing time full of new things and adventure is an understatement for sure, but it's not all that can be said about my experience. Studying abroad really streched me as a person- farther than anything else I have experienced in my life. I was challenged by being in a completely new place and realied solely on myself to go out, explore, meet new people, and get the most out of the opportunity at hand.
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?
Being abroad really put the personal and professional goals of my life into persepective. While abroad I really gained so much joy out of learning in such a great new place, which has made coming back to a full semester of classes actually exciting. Being abroad and independent for four months have also enstilled a lot of confidence with graduation and a professional life coming closer to reality with each passing day. More over, my experience has really helped me grow up in so many ways and has shaped me for the better to tackle the last few semesters of my college career with enthusiasm and determination.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My advice for prospective study abroad students would be to not apply for a program solely because you think it would be the easiest transition. An abroad program should be a good fit for your personality in order to get the most out of your experience. Don't completely eliminate studying in a place far different from anything you've ever known, such as China or India, just because it is so different. Students need to realize that refardless of where you go, you will still feel out of place and probably scared at first. Everyone will experience some form of culture shock, so don't be afraid to consider one of the "crazier" programs.