I can easily say that my time abroad in Rome over the summer for the Creative Writing Study Abroad Program was one of the best experiences of my life. If I hadn’t chosen to take the opportunity to study abroad and experience a different part of the world, I would’ve never made the unforgettable memories with my fellow classmates that will stay with me for the rest of my life. My advice for UWT students thinking about studying abroad is without a doubt, do it. If you’re worried about the money aspect, apply for scholarships, such as the OGA Study Abroad Scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the full cost of the program without the help from this scholarship, but I wouldn’t have received it if I hadn’t applied. So, apply as much as you can for scholarships. Even if you’re not yet accepted into your dream study abroad program you applied for, still apply for scholarships. I chose to when I wasn’t sure if I’d get into my program, but it paid off in the long run once I was accepted.
Also, if you have the opportunity to study abroad for a long period of time, do so. I know you might worried about getting homesick and living in another country for a long period of time, but it’s completely worth it and, in the end, you’ll be wishing you could’ve stayed longer when you pack your bags and head back home. I believe every place you travel to takes some time to adjust to, but you’ll settle in nonetheless and find yourself calling it your second home until you won’t want to leave the place altogether. The program I attended was just four and a half weeks long and it flew by with all the incredible adventures my classmates and I had. I wished I’d studied abroad for at least a quarter since there was so much more still to see and explore in Italy by the time I left. I definitely plan to study abroad for a longer period of time in the future and to return to Rome and explore the city once more, making new memories to add to the old ones.
I truly believe UWT students should study abroad not only for the memories, but to also expand their horizons and experience different cultures and ways of life in other countries. For me, it was fascinating to be surrounded by people who spoke a different language than me. Though sometimes the language barrier could be a little hard if no one around me spoke English, it provided me with the opportunity to learn some Italian so I could ask those around me if I had questions or needed help. Experiencing the food in Italy was one of the best parts of the trip and I have so much respect for true Italian food now. Wherever you go studying abroad, appreciate the food as much as you can because you’ll definitely be missing it on your way home.
I also encourage UWT students interested in studying abroad to bring a camera and record as much as they desire during their time abroad. Capture the memories if you can so you can look back at them when you come home. Studying abroad will not only change your life personally, but will inspire you academically or in your professional life about possible international career paths. I know I plan on traveling no matter what career I choose to pursue. My experience abroad helped me realize that. The OGA scholarship I received ignited the ability for me to be able to study abroad in Rome and without it, I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to make all the amazing memories I’m so genuinely grateful for now. Even though it’s been almost five months since I came back home from Rome, it feels as if I were there just yesterday, eating tomato bruschetta and listening to live violin music play throughout the cobblestone courtyard that I call my second home. So, I encourage all of you interested in studying abroad to take advantage of the opportunity to do so while you still can. Travel as much as you can. I promise you you’ll ask yourself down the line why you didn’t do it sooner.