Kaitlyn Nelson 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?
While I was looking for colleges, Study Abroad programs were an important part of my decision. When I learned that CSBSJU had a program that went to Greece and Rome, I immediately decided that CSB was the place for me. I decided to go on the Greco-Roman trip when I realized that I did not know much of the world and I really wanted to experience new cultures and parts of the world. I chose Greco-Roman because I have always dreamed of going to Greece and Rome was just a huge extra!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While in Greece, my group ate many "taverna style" dinners. These dinners were eaten very slowly with many, many courses. The wait staff would bring more food and not bother us while we ate or just chatted. It was so much different from eating in the US, and I loved it!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was the best decision I have ever made. I saw so many new and exciting things that I would have never been able to see if I hadn't studied abroad. I also met some of the best people ever who will definitely be my friends for life. We became a family, and that totally exceeded my expectations. It was the most amazing four months of my life, even though there were some "low" points, it was worth every second!
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?
I think that studying abroad makes a person realize how independent they can be, and how they are able to push themselves to limits they did not know existed, and survive! It really forces you to leave your comfort zone and step out into an entirely new and strange world. Academically, I think that study abroad is a good break, but is still challenging. Most of the time it doesn't even feel like you are learning because the classes are so engaging and fun! Most of the time, our classes were on sites we had read about in the textbooks, so it was like history was coming to life! It's something amazing to experience because we cannot do that at CSBSJU itself. I think study abroad contributes to my professional development because it looks great on a resume. Also, being a dietetics major, it will be good having experienced so many different countries' cuisines and learning how to prepare meals from Greece and Italy. These skills will be useful while teaching clients in the future.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
DO IT! If you are having second thoughts, take a leap of faith and do it. I can't imagine the regrets I would have, had I not gone on Greco-Roman! Even though it seems scary, new and different, it will all be okay. You will make the best friends and will have memories that only you thirty people have. It is the strongest bond and it is something to cherish. Take the leap, you won't regret it.