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Why did you decide to study abroad?

Studying abroad was something I never really thought of much, it wasn't a life long dream of mine. Instead it was something I would see and hear about, I always thought about how beautiful everything looked but never imagined I could make that my reality. When I found out it was attainable for myself my whole though process changed. I am a first generation college student so a huge influence on my decision came from members of my family. My grandparents worked hard for my family to have a good life, my parents make sure I never need for anything, and it is my job to inspire my younger siblings and show them all they can do in life.

How did you pay for your study abroad experience?

When I decided to study abroad I knew a lot of people did not do so due to the cost of the program. I believed that in order to study abroad I would need to be able to pay out of pocket or take out loans. I soon after learned I could study abroad getting everything covered by scholarships which was right. In the end I started by abroad trip with 4 scholarships to cover the cost as well as a lot of fundraising throughout the months from family and friends as well.

What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?

There is one specific thing I wish I knew before I studied abroad was that the whole process wouldn't always be happy moments. When you speak to people that have studied abroad before they do not mention that all times won't be easy. When I first got abroad I will never remember the feeling I had of feeling overwhelmed all while culture shocked. There were many great moments and many rough moments as well, it is important to let people know the good and bad so they are prepared for the journey ahead.

Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

I identify as a Black American, first generation, female college student. Italy isn't as diverse as many other places within Europe such as Paris, Barcelona, and London. Although Italy wasn't very diverse I didn't suffer from any discrimination. The only reality I had in Italy was being the only person that looked like myself in many moments.

How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?

I knew that studying abroad would open many doors within my career field of public relations and since being back I have been able to place a Corporate Communications internship for the summer. International experience with public relations is a very important skill to have. Personally I grew in many ways all while meeting so many different people from around the world. It was an experience I will never forget and am still so grateful for everyday.

Any additional comments or thoughts that you have about your study abroad experience

I am so happy I had the great opportunity to change my life. Now that I am home I felt as if I just had a very long dream.

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