Mackenzie Lecy 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?
I knew that I wanted to study abroad since I first went abroad my sophomore year of high school. Study abroad opportunities and programs was one of my major concerns when selecting a college, and I was really impressed with the CSB/SJU education abroad office, as well as the Greco-Roman program. The only decision I ever had to make was whether I wanted to apply for the Greco-Roman or Roman-Greco programs.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One night when we were in Athens, five of us went out to a local taverna (casual restaurant) for drinks and appetizers. We only meant to stay there for a couple hours, but a local family invited us over to their table and we ended up talking with them until 2am. They were very friendly people and they were more than willing to share their drinks, food, and conversation with us. What make this one of the most memorable experiences for me that it was a perfect example of the Greeks' friendly, welcoming, laid-back, fun-loving lifestyle. They like to be social and they understand how to enjoy life.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I don't think words can give justice to the amazing study abroad experience that I had. Not only did I learn a lot about Greece and Italy, but I had so many great experiences and made 29 new great friends. I was able to see and do so many things within four months that I know I will never have the opportunity to do again. Everyday was an adventure and everyday I learned something else about the culture, people, or countries of Italy and Greece.
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?
Study abroad helped open my eyes to the rest of the world. It was really refreshing to live in two different cultures for an extended amount of time. There were some things that I missed while abroad, but mostly I loved being introduced to new ways of living. They consider meals to be more of a social event, they don't have the amount of commercialism as in the US, and they take the time to enjoy life. It helped me form a new international lens to view my life, actions, and choices through.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Make the most out of every day! You're time abroad is limited and it goes by super quickly, so you really need to take advantage of every opportunity. If you're trying to decide whether you should spend the money or time doing something while you're there, just do it. If you don't you will probably regret it when you get back to the US and realize you can't walk to the Acropolis or take the underground Scavi Tour at the Vatican in Minnesota. Try to fit as many different experiences and adventures in as possible. You can sleep when you get home!
Do you have any questions about studying abroad in GR/RG? Contact Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org