• Student Stories

    Here are a few reflective essays, written by students, who participated in the Study Abroad Program. We hope you enjoy reading their stories!

      Australia   Italy: Fall | Summer  
      England   Spain  
     

  • Australia

    Cassie Fuhro

     

    I think the most important lesson I learned while abroad was that although many different cultures, languages, and religions occupy the world, we are all the same. We may have different political views or religious beliefs, but we are all just people.

    If you are looking for something new, a challenge, an adventure, or a thrill, study abroad! I know this is extremely cliché, but it was truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And, to be honest, you can read all of the testimonials you want, but you will not fully comprehend life abroad unless you go and experience it for yourself! The friends I gained, the lessons I learned, and the memories I made will be with me for the rest of my life. The opportunity is always knocking for you to study abroad at Monmouth, now it’s up to you to open the door and stride through it! What are you waiting for?!

    Deanna Williams

    Australia was, without a doubt, the experience of a lifetime. Living on your own for almost six months, dealing with situations without the help of parents or anyone else you would typically go to when at home, really makes you grow up in a way you wouldn't for at least a few more years. I am so much older than I was before I had gone abroad, thanks to the tons of traveling and the people I was so lucky to meet while there. Studying abroad in Australia taught me a lot about myself and gave me a worldview I would not have without this experience or would not have developed until much later. I made friendships that are so tight I would call them family, and I hold memories that I will treasure until the end of time, all thanks to simply applying for a program we are so lucky to be offered by Monmouth University.

    Greg Rokicki

    My decision to study abroad in Sydney Australia was the single best decision I've made in my entire life.  Monmouth University gave me all of the tools needed to make such a seemingly overwhelming task extremely easy and stress free. I would like to thank Monmouth University and everyone in the study abroad department for setting a great frame for my study abroad experience, my loving parents for being extremely supportive in every aspect, and my friends for always being there for me even on the other side of the world. By living in a different country I feel as if I am better prepared to take on any challenge that the world gives me. Thanks to Australia I can now say I have a new found love for traveling and this is only the beginning of my lifelong adventures and my quest to see what the rest of the world has to offer.

    Jackie Leming

     

    Before leaving for my trip I was excited and fearful at the same time. I could not wait to embark on all of the adventures that I knew Australia could offer, but I was afraid of not knowing anyone, being alone, and missing out on all of the events that would go on at home while I was gone. Looking back now I feel silly for allowing these worries to cloud my mind. While missing things at home with loved ones did make me feel sad from time to time, I continuously reminded myself that no one back at home was experiencing the new and amazing things that I was in a foreign country. One of the most incredible parts of studying abroad was the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. I now have some of the best friends of my life from places like Norway, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and even the United States. Having the opportunity to spend time with people from all over the word opened my eyes to the way that things are done in other countries. Prior to studying abroad I only really knew what it was like to live in the United States, but now I have a greater knowledge of the cultures, governments, and customs of various countries throughout the world.


     

     

    Janine Averbach

    While visiting Australia was on my bucket list, I had no idea that I would end up crossing off much more than I anticipated. Within my first week, I learned how to surf, cuddled a koala, and communicate with other international students from places such as Denmark and Thailand. I went on a spring break trip which covered most of the east coast of Australia, including adrenaline pumping activities such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I marveled at national landmarks such as the Blue Mountains and 12 Apostles, soaked up the sun at the famous Bondi Beach, and sat upon a large boat in Port Stephens watching whales splash out of the water.

     I came to love every aspect of Australia, from their lovely accents and slang words to their driving on the opposite side of the road. It easily has to be one of the most picturesque countries in the world, with certain sites and sceneries taking my breath away on numerous occasions. In a five kilometer radius, you can see mountains, beaches, rolling plains, and city skylines, with a sky that was always set so beautifully over each one of these destinations. The atmosphere was also maintained at a much more relaxed, friendlier pace, with a BBQ lifestyle and a "no worries" attitude followed by all of the people.

    Jason Weir

    Studying abroad doesn't have to be a lifelong goal; I happened to stumble upon Monmouth's study abroad web page about 4 or 5 months before I was on the plane heading to Sydney.  If you have the slightest inkling that you may want to study abroad, go to the meetings and see if there if this is something you really want to do.  Second, not knowing anybody can be better than going with a friend.  If I had gone with one of my friends, I think I wouldn't have had all the experiences and met all the friends I did while I was in Sydney.  Third, if you are actually going abroad, know that things are going to be different in that country, but not necessarily in a bad way.  Be able to go with the flow and try new things, after all you are in a different country.  I will never forget my time in Sydney and am waiting for the opportunity to go back.

    Kaitlyn Penna

    My study abroad experience in Sydney, Australia was honestly the experience of a lifetime. I would not trade it for anything. This allowed me to learn much more about myself, life, and the world. It really opened my eyes to everything that surrounds me. Life truly is different everywhere you go. A place that is an hour plane ride away may maintain a completely different culture and lifestyle. Through this experience I was able to mature as a person and realize who I am and who I want to be. Living across the world for five months allowed me to grow significantly.

    Michelle Myers

    It is hard to imagine what my life would be if I had not studied abroad in Australia. I think that I would have continued to view the world as a place without much opportunity. Studying abroad in Australia allowed me to break out of my comfort zone, have my anxieties dwindle, and to no longer sweat the small stuff. I see the adventure in every day, and I live life to the greatest extent. Since living abroad, my feet are never fully planted on the ground as I continue to pursue travels around the world. I hope that after graduation, I can move back to Sydney. Ultimately, studying abroad in Australia taught me that life is what you make it and is too short to wait around for the adventure to come find you. You must go chase it.

    Roksana Hajduk

    One of the best decisions I have ever made was to study abroad in Australia. This experience has taught me how to be independent and increased my tolerance. During this journey I took the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and Fiji, where I met an amazing group of people from all over the world. Living in another country for four months has altered my perspective on life and the world itself. I feel very lucky to say that I had the chance to live on the other side of the world.

    Sinead Friel

    Studying abroad was easily the best decision I've made in my entire life. Ever since I was little I've wanted to go to Australia and I never thought it would actually happen. Some people might think it's impossible to study abroad between the cost and all the classes they have to take, but if you plan properly it's not hard to organize. I worked about 60 hours a week for three months before going abroad, but it was so worth it. Australia is an amazingly beautiful country. The best thing I did while abroad was traveling up to Cairns in Queensland and seeing the Great Barrier Reef. I got to snorkel and sky dive over it! Also, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge was one of the most amazing experiences. If you're considering studying abroad - do it

    Toniann Keiling

        I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to Australia to others.  I had the best time and if I had advice to give to any Monmouth student that was still eligible for study abroad, of course I would say to get out there, travel the world, and learn about new cultures.  I really feel as though I matured a lot as a person in Australia and there really is no better way to experience other countries besides living and studying in them for a long period of time.  Studying abroad is much different than just visiting a country on vacation because you become immersed in the culture of the country and meet so many people from all over the world by doing so.  While abroad, you learn to face fears by doing crazy activities, such as skydiving and bungee jumping.  Travelling also allows students to see some of the most beautiful places in the world, my favorite being Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsunday Islands.  So just take a chance and choose to study abroad, and I can almost guarantee that you will not be disappointed.  I certainly wasn't.

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    England

    Aashni Shah

    Studying abroad is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Within 3 ½ months, I had the opportunity to not only travel to Italy, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, France and Vienna, but to also live in one of the greatest cities in the world. From the excitement buzzing around you in Trafalgar Square, the Christmas lights on Oxford Street, the striking beauty of Big Ben, seeing the city from the top of The Shard, watching fireworks over the city's skyline from Primrose Hill, to endless nights exploring the city and days filled with adventure, London is the most magnificent city I have ever been to and one that I recommend every single person to visit at least once in their lifetime. I fell in love with the city of London, and plan to return one day with the intention to never leave again.

    Amanda Bowman

    Now that my study abroad experience has come to an end I find myself constantly thinking about where I am going to go next. Traveling has made me an independent person and has given me a substantial amount of confidence. I may be back in America for now, but I will not be staying for long. I have a list of places that I am eager to get to and now that I know what kind of happiness traveling gives you I will make it a priority to get to those places. As for London, I will definitely be back for you. You became a home to me, a place I feel in love with. I left a piece of my heart there and I am just waiting for the day that I can go back and get it.

    Caitlin Ellenby

    My decision to study abroad was the best decision I have ever made.  The past 4 months that I spent in London were and always will be the best 4 months of my life.  Every day was a new adventure and a new story that could be told.  It was my goal to get out and go somewhere every day. Whether this was with the wonderful group of friends I made that I now cherish or just a solo adventure, I never felt alone. I absolutely fell in love with London from the moment I stepped off that plane.  I knew it was going to be an amazing experience but I had never anticipated how life changing it really would be.  I met so many people from all over the world each and every day.  Even walking through a place as simple as the library was a cultural experience.  Regents University is an international school, so every student there is from somewhere different around the world.  As you walk through the library you can hear students talking in different languages and all sorts of accents.  I am so proud of the fact that I now have friends in not only places all across the United States, but also across the world such as England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Austria and France.

    Chaeli Marinelli

     
     

    My time in Europe was initially about travel and new experiences but the biggest thing I gained was knowledge. I studied in a different country and learned about their culture. Everything I encountered changed me for the better. I have an understanding and a new out look on life. I want to experience as much as I can in the time I am given and I am always up for a new adventure. My study abroad experience has changed me for the better and I couldn't be happier about the person I am and the person I can grow to be due to my experiences. If someone even utters the words study abroad I cant help but scream DO IT!

    Courtney Pellegrino

    Study abroad really helped me grow as a person. I became so much more independent and I no longer consider myself a "home-body." I learned how to become more patient and since I was constantly in contact with people of different cultural backgrounds, it really helped me learn how other people think about things and how you shouldn't be so quick to judge. It also helped me learn how to be more relaxed when I travel. Before this experience, I hated waiting in lines at the airport and I hated if something happened unexpectedly than planned. But, now I realize things don't always go as planned (especially at the airports!) and its something I can deal with. I learned to change my way of thinking and accept things I can't control. I'm definitely a much relaxed and mature traveler now.

    Devon Henry

    There's something about London that makes you buck up and put your big girl panties on.  When I first heard about this study abroad program, it seemed kind of daunting.  The idea of living in an epicenter of fashion, business and theater was more than exciting. But for a girl who chose to go to school an hour away from home and called home almost every other day; being so far away from home, scared the living daylights out of me. That faithful day, my last hours stateside were some of the most nerve-racking moments of my life.  My thoughts were filled with so many "what ifs". Maybe a few were slightly irrational "what ifs", but they were thoughts whose influence quickly dissipated once I made it across the "pond". 

    Whilst in London, there are so many opportunities, for fun, fashion, and theatres (movie and the stage).  Most is in walking distance, but certain theaters are out of Zone 1, meaning that you'd probably have to take a bus or the tube toward the location.  Two things that I've never done before.  Yep that's right before this trip I had never taken public transportation, much less by myself.  But thankfully, maps of the lines as well as the routes are pretty much everywhere so it was easy to get around.  My new found knowledge helped me get to the basic tourist sites such as The Eye, Tower London and Buckingham Palace, but also to multiple Musicals and Plays (hit up the west end and take a theatre class at Regents you won't regret it), The British Fashion Awards, London Fashion Weekend, and the most epic of all:    COMIC CON!!!

    Erin McMullen

    Studying abroad has made me look at everything and everyone in my life through a different, more culturally aware lens; it really is a life experience that cannot be beat. Sure, you can say that you're going to travel or backpack around Europe after you graduate college, or when you get older, or after you get married…but will you ever really have the time? Studying abroad not only allows you to further your education, but it allows you to do so while also giving you the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful countries in the world. I would recommend studying abroad to literally anyone who is considering it even a little bit because it was absolutely the best decision I have ever made. I am a better person because of my time in London, and that is why I am working so hard to find my way back.

    Francis Salvatore

    I originally chose to study abroad to boost my resume. I figured what better way to make myself stand out then having an experience abroad. I didn't understand how naive I was until I settled in to London. Studying abroad helped me to understand the important things in life. Through traveling and living in Europe, I was able to appreciate the little things. I learned to appreciate the value of time, money, friends, and myself. If I can share any advice from my experience it would just be to do what makes you happy, don't ever feel obligated to do things to satisfy others.

                I miss London every day that I have been back in the states. Regent's University, our host college, was centered in London and the location made it convenient to walk to main locations such as Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, Selfridges & Co., Harrods, and the Underground. I miss the British people who were very welcoming and were a pleasure to be around. I also miss the convenience of London's location to other countries in Europe. For all prospective students interested in studying abroad, when Robyn tells you that this will be the most memorable moment of your life, believe it.

    Gracie Zwernemann

    One of the biggest reasons I wanted to study abroad when I applied was so that I could see the world.  Being an education major, I know that the life plan I have in motion doesn't leave much wiggle room.  I am going to graduate with my two degrees and hopefully get a job, most likely in New Jersey.  Studying abroad offered the chance to travel to countries I'd never seen before, and experience a life I may never again get to experience.  So, when I eventually got accepted into the program and committed myself to it, I had big plans to see the world while I could.

    Looking back on it, Monmouth's program exceeded my expectations.  I was provided with so many opportunities to ask questions and voice my concerns, all of which were addressed appropriately.  I felt fully supported by the faculty throughout the application process and even more so when I was accepted into the program.  More importantly, in my opinion, on arrival to the UK and upon making friends with study abroad students from other schools (LIU, UNH, and Roanoke, mostly), I was able to compare the study abroad programs between schools.  I, along with my fellow Monmouth students, all concluded that the Monmouth program and faculty provided so much support while we were away, and that our school was the best set up among the others at Regents.  I am truly grateful for the Monmouth program; I think it made my study experience all the better.

    Jaclyn Shugard

    Studying Abroad has changed my life for the better. This experience has made me grow as a person and has put me in more real life situations than anything I have ever done in the past. I am much more confident in myself, the choices I make and the risks I am willing to take in life from here on out. I am much more calm and collected. I am immensely happy I chose to do this experience. I have had the time of my life and now I want to see much more of the world outside of the United States and Europe. Studying Abroad has affected my life in so many positive ways, and I hope it changes someone's life the way it did for me.

    Jameson Tisch

    Studying abroad in London has easily been the best decision of not just my college career, but my life.  You never know if you'll ever get the chance to live in a foreign city with just your friends or be able to travel and see the world.  If I wasn't going to be a senior and graduating I would go back again in a heartbeat.  Studying abroad makes you realize just how privileged you are to be able to take advantage of such a great opportunity.  Fears are conquered, doubts dissipate, confidence is risen dramatically and you are completely changed as a person; for the better.  Once you're there you won't want to be anywhere else besides walking down Baker Street, or gasping at the views of the Scottish Highlands, or marveling at the ancient Roman Colosseum and much more.  Every weekend was a new adventure and it was exhilarating leaving my comfort zone to explore the world.  It continues to baffle me that not everyone studies abroad because I can say with zero exaggeration it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be passed up. 

    Jennifer Chiappone

    Today it's been one month since coming back from the most amazing four months of my life. I have to say, while sitting on my couch right now, my life was far more exciting there! My time abroad in London gave me a different aspect on life and brought me out of my comfort zone. In America, I realized how much I longed for something else. Spending time abroad did just that; it gave me the confidence and independence I had been looking for. Over the semester my friends and I traveled to Italy, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Holland, and Belgium with countless day trips around London and England. Traveling to all of these places was amazing. Trust me, you actually do study but somehow it was easily manageable! I felt at home there from the moment I got off the plane. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I was the calmest I've ever been. By the second week, I truly felt like a Londoner!  I'm actually looking into graduate schools out there! This was such an amazing experience that helped me figure out more about myself and the world around me! So, when can I go back?

    Jessica Lima

    Essentially studying abroad has been the best decision I have ever made. This opportunity has changed my life for the better and has greatly shaped the way I look and think about certain aspects of life. Even though the thought of spending nearly four months away from home seemed intimidating at first, it did not take long for London to become home for me. My time abroad has made me more willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, and the confidence this experience has given me is truly humbling. Aside from living in an insanely beautiful and culturally stimulating city, I met some of the most amazing people and established friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime. While the reality of my time abroad being over is a bit distressing, the memories, experiences and friendships I have made are aspects of my life I will forever cherish.

    Kara Bradley

    From the meetings with former study abroad students to the many talks with Robyn, Monmouth prepared me greatly for my upcoming semester abroad to London while making the entire process simple and stress free. Thanks to studying abroad, I now have memories and friendships to last a lifetime. After visiting nine different countries within almost four months, traveling has now become one of my passions and I cannot wait to see what else the world has to offer. Experiencing new cultures and cities, meeting students from all around the world, and learning what I am capable of allowed for a life changing opportunity that I am forever grateful for. London became more than one of my new favorite cities; it became my home.

    Kristen Pizzonia

    Before I went abroad, everyone told me how great an experience it would be and how much fun I was going to have, but those words did not come to life until I actually experienced it for myself. I would tell future students that no matter how great I say it will be and how much of a wonderful time it is, it is up to them to make of it what they want it to be, and that the experience will be great when they are there to see and feel it for themselves. It is so sad to think that so many students miss out on such a wonderful opportunity. Out of all the schools that were there too Monmouth had one of the best programs and was so helpful to their study abroad students. Monmouth students literally have the world handed to them and they need to know that this opportunity is something worth reaching out and grabbing. No matter what I write in this essay, or tell my friends and family, words do not compare to the wonderful experience I had while studying abroad. I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime simply because we shared one of the best experiences of our lives. I have traveled the world on my own and gained a new independence that will help me in the next chapter of my life. And the memories and bliss feelings that London has given me will remain with me forever. I will always return to London with a smile upon my face, for after all it was and will forever be my home away from home.

    Lindsay Botts

    As a study abroad student, you learn so much about other countries in a short amount of time because you are forced to as a local, not just visiting for a week or two like regular tourists.  The key to living in a big city like London is always keeping your eyes and ears open to the thousands of opportunities that London has to offer. In retrospect, I am very happy I decided to study abroad. I learned how much easier it is to travel in Europe - they really do not know how great they have it.  I also learned that though we all have different foods and customs in our different countries, we all are human and we are all relatively the same once you give people a chance to show you who they are.  Meeting people from around the world at Regent's really opens your eyes to this. The best advice I could give to those who are thinking about studying abroad, or have already made the decision is keep an open mind, make new friends, make the decision to discover something new every day, and always remember that Bus2Alps, RyanAir and EasyBus are your best friends for any trip you want to take. Do not waste your time wishing you were with people back home, take life by the reigns and steer it in the direction of your dreams.

    Megan DeSalvo

    The decision to study abroad was one of the most difficult, yet fulfilling experiences of my life. When I first thought about the possibility of spending a semester in London, I was scared; I did not know if I could survive on my own in another country, when at Monmouth I could go home whenever I wanted. I was not sure if I could leave my friends and family for almost four months and try to make new friends. But I did, and I had the time of my life doing it.
         The months leading up to our departure were filled with excitement. I loved the fact that I got to meet everyone else studying abroad from Monmouth beforehand, so I got to see friendly faces in the airport. I was feeling slightly anxious on the drive to Newark and saying goodbye to my parents was sad, but once I saw my group at the gate my anxiety melted away and turned into pure excitement. I knew I was about to begin the journey of a lifetime.

    Michael Mottola

    What made my time most amazing here, however, was the history that was alive. I stood in Westminster Abbey in the same spot where William the Conqueror was crowned almost 1,000 years ago. I visited the Tower of London and saw where two of Henry VIII's wives were executed. I toured Windsor Palace when Her Majesty the Queen was there, and saw the tombs of many kings, including America's favorite, King George III.
         The hardest part, however, of being in London was how I was totally on my own. I did not feel weird or uncertain about it, but it was certainly something I was unprepared for. I had to adjust quickly to being totally and solely responsible for myself, my well-being, health, and every facet of my life, all while adjusting to life in a different country. I learned a lot about myself, good and bad, as I had fully come into my own. Despite the hard adjustments, going to London was a decision that is, without a doubt, the best I had ever made in my life.

    Nana Bonsu

    Studying abroad was by far the best decision I have ever made. At first it was
    overwhelming to think about being so far from home for such a long period of
    time, but it did not take long before I realized how at home I felt in London. My
    study abroad experience taught me so much about life and relationships, and I
    have grown beyond words as an individual. Spending almost four months in London
    made me more open minded and willing to try new things, and I now have a new
    outlook on many aspects of life. Apart from the beautiful places I was able to
    visit and the fun experiences I will never forget, I met so many great people
    and have formed lifelong friendships. It is hard to believe that my time in
    London has come to an end, but I have an immeasurable amount of moments I will
    cherish for the rest of my life.

    Samantha Barnwell

    I really saw what a big world we live in and that every culture is so unique. You don't expect England to be so different but it is in ways that I can't describe. Throughout traveling I really stepped out of my comfort zone. Being put in situations that are uncomfortable or even unusual can be so enlightening. You realize how blessed you really are to have all that you do. I felt myself becoming more responsible and thinking more realistically. I stood in breathtaking places, met so many different people, and learned from such experienced professors from all over the globe. Most importantly I learned that you never know where life may take you. I would not trade this opportunity for anything and I wish everyone can at some point in their lives travel the world.

    Stephanie Andujar

    Going abroad was both the easiest and toughest decision I have had to make. I am an introvert, a shy, quiet girl who keeps to herself so going off to a new country where I didn’t know anyone was scary but I knew it would be worth it. Landing in London was like already being home. This city that I had never been to felt like the right place to be and right then I knew it would all be okay. While in England I experienced things with new friends that I would have never experienced in the States. I learned how to manage my money, travel, push myself and live life fully. The first day we were in London I had already met my core group of friends and from there we did everything together. It truly was an adventure from start to finish. From roaming London, Brighton and the English country side to seeing the ocean in Spain and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower being abroad makes you that much more cultured without you realizing it. Going to countries where there is a language barrier builds your communication skills and getting lost is part of the adventure. Going to England was the best decision I ever made because besides still getting my education on I got to travel the world with friends that became so important to me and I gained my independence. London was life changing.

    Stephanie Landwehr

    Studying abroad is something that I have wanted to do since I was young. One of my dreams is to travel the world and because of this experience offered by Monmouth, my dream came true.  London is the best city on Earth and I would go back in a heartbeat. I don't step out of my comfort zone often. None of my close friends were able to study abroad so I forced myself to do it alone. When studying abroad it seemed like most people had at least one other person by their side and I was alone. Luckily the group I stuck with was full of nice and friendly people who I became close to and can now call best friends. I am so grateful to have been able to experience traveling the world at such a young age. I would have not been able to do this without the support of the Monmouth Study Abroad Program. They figured out the application, transportation, and made everything so easy. The program was very supportive and I don't know what I would have done without their help. Studying abroad is something that not many people do, so if anyone has the chance I hope they would apply. This was the best decision I have made in my life and I cannot express how amazing it was. I now have memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

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    Italy: Fall

    Adrianna Pirone

    To understand what it is like to Study Abroad, you will have to experience it for yourself. Yes, it takes courage. The first step is realizing you want to do it. After that plane takes off, you have decided. I faced my fears, I saw the world, and I understood the purpose of my existence. In a way you can say I found myself. My heart will forever long for Florence, for the people I met here, and for my experiences that shaped the person I am today. I do realize how fortunate I am, and I am so appreciative of my experience with other MU students. Who else gets to say they celebrated their 20 th  birthday in Florence, Italy? This trip has taught me to live. Before Italy, I lived, but during Italy I saw, I experienced, I learned. I faced fears daily. My first major accomplishment was jumping off a massive rock at Cinque Terre into the Mediterranean Sea. That exhilarating memory will last me a lifetime.

    Amanda Murachanian

    Everyone should live in another country for at least a few months of their life. Experiencing another culture and way of life changed me in the best possible way. I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy for the Fall Semester of my junior year, and it was the greatest time of my life. Before taking the necessary leap of faith to study abroad, I had never traveled anywhere without my family and I did not know any of the other Monmouth students that I was going to be traveling with. As scary as it was to take that leap of faith, I am so grateful that I did, because without doing so, I would have never gotten to see the world in such a spectacular way or become friends with such an incredible group of people, as well as meet so many amazing people from around the world.

                Studying abroad was like living in a dream for four months. On weekends I traveled throughout Italy, Paris and Greece. At twenty-years-old I never thought that I would be able to live out so many of my dreams and then some. I went to Milan for Fashion Week where spontaneously I got to do a photoshoot with Canon, I jumped off cliffs in the Amalfi Coast, went ATVing through Greece and saw the Mona Lisa and Eiffel Tower. Some of my favorite times though, were spent with my friends in Florence going to the Fiorentina Soccer games, eating at local restaurants and simply enjoying walking around the beautiful city. The most challenging part was leaving the beautiful city of Florence behind. Firenze ha rubato il mio cuore (Florence stole my heart)! I encourage everyone to take a leap of faith and study abroad, it is the opportunity of a lifetime and by far the greatest experience of my life.

    Ashley Episcopo

    Deciding to leave a life behind and begin a new one in a foreign country is not easy. I decided to study abroad my senior year in college only because I was too scared to do it earlier. Now that I have gone, I realize there was nothing to be scared about. Experiencing something outside of your comfort zone is important. There is a whole world out there with so much to see and so much to learn. Studying abroad leaves you with the disease of the travel bug that does not stop your desire to see more. Seeing these beautiful countries while you're young is important because never again will you be able to stop your life at home and pack up for four months to travel around to various countries. Going abroad is the experience of a lifetime and it is something you will never forget. Coming back for the holidays and sharing my experiences with my family was a great feeling. I'm proud that I've had the opportunity to go abroad and I took it. I only hope that I have the opportunity to travel more in the future.  

    Bill Simcox

    In America we race about trying to get ahead, trying to get more and more. But all the while we lose sight of the things that are truly meaningful in life in my opinion. Just because one might have countless possessions, does not mean that they are happy or rich. Look at everything that person had to give up in order to obtain those possessions. Going abroad taught me that the world is breath taking. To see the Duomo towering over Florence, to scream "Prost" at Oktoberfest, to go white water rafting through a peaceful and serene Croatia, or any of the other countless experiences you could have while abroad. Every day we see people gain and lose money, build and destroy lives, or work in a never-ending rat race that they feel they will never win. But, the memories they have cannot be lost or taken from them regardless of the amount of money they have. I promise you if you decide to study abroad you will have ups, downs, sideways, and everything you could imagine in between, but the one thing you won't have is a meaningless experience that you will forget. You will have enough stories to last a lifetime and then some. I could tell you mine and go into depth about what I did, but I'd rather you go experience it for yourself. So put the phone down and see the world through your own eyes.

    Chris Dellaquilla

    My trip to Italy was without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience. The places I saw, the people I met, and the lessons I learned would never have happened without taking the leap to study abroad. I can say with confidence that this was the single best decision of my life, and few things will compare to it the rest of my life. Each day was a new adventure whether it was in a new city, or taking a walk to a new part of Florence. Every day is a new opportunity to find out about the world and yourself. There was not a single day that went by when I questioned my decision to study abroad. Sure, I was a bit nervous when I was getting ready to leave, but you have to expect to be in that situation. Preparing to go was actually fairly easy. Monmouth makes it very clear what is needed, and the study abroad office does most of the work. I just had to provide them with the right paperwork, and they handle the rest.

    Danielle St Vincent

    I have been home for two weeks now, trying to put into words my experience abroad. I have come to the conclusion that there truly aren't any words that could come close to describing what I experienced in Florence, Italy for the three and a half months I lived there. I believe this experience is something everyone should have in their life. I have gained more knowledge about the world this past semester than I have in my lifetime. I have made the best of friends, friends I know that will last forever, and I have traveled to nine countries and twenty-two cities throughout Europe. It was not easy for me to leave my family and boyfriend at home, but I am very happy I did. I know that this is an experience that not many people get to have and it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have left my heart in so many cities, and I know this is not the end of my journey.

    Jessica Calabro

    Studying abroad in Florence was by far the best decision I have made in my life. It is an experience that I will never, ever forget. I traveled to nine different countries and experienced twenty-one different cities all in one semester. I volunteered while I was abroad and took classes that taught me so much about life and the person I want to become.  I met people from several different countries and learned how different, but amazing, all of the people and their cultures were. I became a more worldly, mature, confident young adult and can promise you that every day abroad will be the most memorable and exciting time of your life!

    John Peterolff

    My place of stay was Florence, Italy. I could not be happier with my decision. This essay will be one of the most joyful yet painful essays to write. Joyful because I will be able to reflect on the greatest experiences of my entire life, and painful because I miss it so much it is unbearable. In reality no words can truly describe my wonderful experience, but I'll start off with two words: Eye opening. This experience alone has changed me as a person. It has changed my perspective on almost everything, my eyes that have viewed the world before are entirely different now that they have been blessed with the sights of Europe.

     I was a foreigner for the first time in my life and I could honestly say I did not feel afraid for Florence was so welcoming everywhere I went. I never felt a bad vibe living in Florence, I felt at ease. I noticed the Italians were much different than Americans. They were much more lax and peaceful. There were not many 'too go' cups of coffee, people would always drink their coffee at the café, and take their time. There were not many people speeding around not paying attention to those around them, people would stop in the streets and enjoy a conversation no matter what their agenda was or if they were in a rush.

    John Stout

    When I made the decision to spend a semester abroad in Italy, I would have never anticipated the massive impact it would have on my life. As someone who had never traveled outside of the United States, I was nervous and unsure what to expect when I landed in Florence that late August afternoon. However as the weeks passed by, my love for the cobblestone-lined city and the cultures I discovered throughout my travels began to fill my heart. From our first trip to the beautiful lands of Cinque Terre to an excursion through the vast and diverse cities of Northern Europe, I was finally able to turn my wanderlust-filled dreams into a reality. Not only was I able to see places people spend their entire lives dreaming of, I was able to find a true family amongst those whom I was lucky enough to share this wonderful experience with. Looking back on my time that I spent in Florence, it is amazing to see how much I was able to grow and how it gave me the direction I have always needed to chase my goals. Above all, I was able to find my true home in the city of my dreams; Firenze.

    Jolie Montes

    A wise man named Henry Ward Beecher once proposed the idea that, "the art of being happy lies within the power of extracting happiness from common places".  Deciding to take on the opportunity of studying abroad open's up the pathway to endless possibilities, all of which have significant lessons to be learned and people to meet along the way. It is important to always stay true to yourself, go with your gut instinct but at the same time  to step back and enjoy where you are. I began learning how to appreciate having a cappuccino and lunch by myself overlooking a beautiful historical scene; I began to enjoy not being able to understand what anyone was saying around me. I took long walks and sat by the water looking over all of Florence and took in just how lucky I was to be sitting where I was.
     

    Jose Rodriguez

    I've always said that I wanted to travel the world, but I didn't know when and I didn't know how. Who knew that at the age of 20, I would visit a total of 9 new, beautiful, amazing countries and make several new friends? These past 4 months in Europe have been a life changing experience and it's bittersweet that my time has ended. Florence has become like a home. Even though I've made new friends, this experience for me was more about self-reflection and personal growth. I am proud of myself for immersing myself in different cultures and trying new things outside of my comfort zone. It opened my eyes and made me look at life in a different perspective. Be happy. Be free. Be confident. Do what makes you happy. Be humble. It's okay if you make mistakes sometimes, because that is how we learn. Don't stress about things you can't change or be upset about things you don't have. As long as you have God in your life, everything will work out. I know we hear all the time about people in this world dreaming of having half of the things that you have, but once you actually see it for yourself then you'll truly learn to be grateful. I am proud of the person that I am becoming. I thank God for continually blessing me and allowing me to accomplish my dreams. I know this is only the beginning, so I can't wait to see what else He has planned for me.

    Katey McElroy

    Bittersweet is the word that comes to mind when thinking about my departure from Italy back to America. I had never felt such a strong contradiction of emotions in one moment. Although I was eager to see my loved ones and be in the comfort of my own country, I didn't want to leave. I fell in love with the country. I fell in love with traveling. Not only did I travel to Italy, I lived in Italy…for four months. I also visited nine countries and over twenty three different cities. I learned new languages, cultures and I learned more about myself. I tried new foods, took way too many pictures and I made new friends who I will keep for a lifetime. It was an experience I cannot put into words. Just like everyone else who has studied abroad, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Kiara Detwiller

    What country should I go to?  How much money should I bring?   How will I navigate a foreign land?  What if I'm homesick?  These were all questions I asked about before making my decision to study abroad.  Studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made! This experience has changed my life and made me grow as a person.  I have become more independent and have learned to be more appreciative of life.  The idea of traveling to a strange country where a different language is spoken may seem scary. However, this "strange" country becomes your home away from home.  The cost is expensive and that's the truth but it's up to you on how much you spend.  Good budgeting and planning is a plus and helped me stay within budget.  People you meet abroad will become your new friends and family.  This helped me during the rare moments I was homesick.  I just had to remember that everyone around me was in the same boat.  There were so many things to see and do that missing home was not a problem.  I believe that everyone should study abroad and experience the world outside his or her own country.

    Maria Marinaro

    Arriving in Italy I knew I made the right decision but at first it was hard to get adjusted because a lot of the people studying abroad with me had come with their friends where as I was totally on my own. Later I became grateful for because I went away with thirty strangers who after four months became family. Our group was like one that Monmouth had never encountered before; we decided that from day one we were going to stick together. People always told me about how many beautiful places I was going to see but they never told me about all of the beautiful connections I was going to make.

    It's hard to believe that my adventure is over but I don't look at it like that. "Do not be sad that it's over, smile because it happened." This is the mentality that I have because every day that I'm back home I relive a moment I lived out in Europe. They say our experiences yesterday make us who we are today and I completely agree. Whenever I'm feeling sad or homesick of Europe I just think back to those warm nights looking out my window, taking in the most incredible sunsets. I was fortune to have been given an opportunity that many people my age or any age, never get to experience. I know that this isn't the last adventure I'm going to have but with all the stories I tell it makes me feel that much closer to being there again. I truly believe that traveling leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller. "That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again."- Walt Disney 

    Melina Morel

    At first, the idea of living in a foreign country and not knowing the language scared me. I had no idea what to expect or what would happen once I arrived. What I did know, was that I was willing to take a chance and find out. I knew that this was the only opportunity I would get in college to do something as big as this.  It was the biggest risk that I would take in my life and I'm very glad I did. Florence was the perfect city for me to study abroad in because it was not too big or too small in size. The people were nice and it is a city with so much history. It's crazy to know that some of the most famous artists lived in Florence like Michelangelo and that many of his famous artworks are still kept there today.  The most impressive piece of art I saw in Florence was the statue of David by Michelangelo.  When I saw this sculpture in the Academia it literally took my breath away. During my time abroad I grew to love Florence and it became a part of me.  For this reason Florence will forever be my second home.

    Nicole Gafanha

    Studying Abroad in Italy was by far the best experience of my life!! So many of my dreams came true through studying abroad. I got to meet so many amazing people from all over Europe, do things I had only dreamt of doing, I overcame my fear of heights by going paragliding in Switzerland and cliff jumping in Positano and most importantly I learned A LOT about myself. I can honestly say that the study abroad experience I had has changed my life forever. I am no longer afraid of putting myself out there and taking risks and I have a stream of confidence I never had. Had I not stepped out of my comfort zone, I would have never experienced such an amazing opportunity!!

    Tatianna Castro

    How many people get to say that at the age of 20 they chose to live an opportunity that would forever change their view of the world?  Coming from one of the poorest sectors of Cali Colombia, I never in a million years would have anticipated that I would be stepping onto a plane traveling to a continent that I had only heard about from friends and from which I had only seen pictures of in books. Who would have thought that me, the first to attend college in my family, would be traveling across the world to study in Florence on weekdays and explore Europe on the weekends. People sometimes ask me why I decided to study abroad and the first answer that comes out of my mouth is why not? You see, when I look back and relive in my mind all of the things that I experienced while abroad I cannot help but ask myself why in the world would you not?  Why would you choose to stay where you have always been? Why not leave behind everything that you have ever known and make room for all of the things left in this world to learn about? I would really like to know why you would choose not to live. What else would we want to do in our 20s but to explore, to laugh, to meet, to taste, to see and to feel. Like seriously, why would you DECIDE not to feel alive? I’ve never felt as vulnerable, I’ve never felt so free, and yet I have never felt more alive.

    Vincent Shockley

    Sophomore year, everything was going well. I had great grades in my classes, stayed out of trouble, and everything was still in line for me to be able to study abroad. That was not the case for most of my friends. My good friend was on the football team so study abroad was not really an option for him. The others ate up all their free electives and gen eds so they didn't have that much wiggle room with their majors. For me it was really disappointing. Just by them not being able to go made me feel like I wasn't able to go either. There was a part of me that didn't want to leave my friends. I loved being on campus, I loved my work study job, and I even started telling myself that I didn't want to miss out on a whole semester at school. Not until I went to the first step meetings and heard more stories and students who went through the same things with their friends did I realize that turning down this opportunity would be the biggest regret of my life. Now I can say that I have gained almost 200 new friends that I shared life changing experiences with. Study abroad has given me a whole new outlook on life, what is important, and a new level of self-awareness. I've done and seen things that I never would have thought I would do. I opened up to more people tried new things, and embraced numerous cultures. This experience has really given me a taste of adult life and responsibility. Study abroad has showed me there is so much out there to see in the world and gave me a new addiction to traveling and getting lost. Not only was I forced to find my way, but I found out a lot about myself. This is really cliché and I can't believe I'm trying to explain what students before me have but believe me when I tell you that study abroad was THE best time of my life.

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    Italy: Summer

    Alison Maoli

    I consider this opportunity something that changed my life forever. Prior to studying abroad I have never traveled outside of the country so it was a big step for me to do alone. I was a nervous wreck having no idea how I would manage everything from money to speaking a different language, but once I arrived in Florence, everything set into place. It all came so naturally. I had to break out of my shell and turn the uncomfortable situation into the best time of my life. The culture surrounding was all so different but it's interesting to learn it first hand. Everyone's seen movies and heard stories about Italian culture although in my opinion, those don't nearly explain enough of the beauty to expect. I learned that there are other places than New Jersey. You could never imagine humans just like us living complete different lives but it does exist. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and it opens up new gateways of your life.

    Brian Deo

    Through this study abroad experience in Italy, I have become more independent, mature and aware of cultural differences between different parts of the world, while developing friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime. I learned that there are great differences between the life that I am used to and various European cultures, ranging from ideologies about work to family life and everything in between. My intercultural communication professor told me during my time abroad, "Italians work to live, not live to work." These differences and similarities that are encountered while abroad have enabled me to develop a greater sense of self. This once and a lifetime opportunity cannot be summarized through pictures and videos, but only by living it yourself.

    Brittany Ciappina

    If I told myself when I transferred to Monmouth that I would have visited four countries, swam in one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and lived amongst so much history I would have never believed myself.  I wish I could express my experiences to you in words but they just wouldn't capture the beauty and amazing sights.  From standing on a mountain overlooking Cinque Terre, to walking under the Eiffel Tower, to swimming in the beautiful waterfall in Krka, Croatia, taking a chair lift above Ana Capri, and being in Pompeii amongst something that happened over a thousand years ago I will cherish these memories forever. Beyond a dream, studying abroad will change your life forever. 

    Casey Allocco

    "Amazing, I loved it." These words have been my response to every single person that has asked me about my trip to Italy. They sit there, and wait for a better answer, but how can someone possibly sum up the most remarkable month of their entire lives.  It truly became our home while we were there, and it was only a month. I never thought I could adapt to a lifestyle so easily and love every second of it. From the hottest nights trying to sleep, to catching lizards in our room, and to hanging our clothes to dry, it was all worth the view of Piazza del Mercato and the Duomo in the distance from our window. 

     

    I don't think anybody knows what it means to appreciate the world until your on top of it. In the peak of my life I hiked the tallest height of the mountains in Cinque Terre, dangled in a chair to the top of Anacapri, bused to the highest roads in Croatia, climbed to the top of the tower in Florence, and overlooked the city at Piazza Michelangelo. Even though all those things were only a small part of a short trip, I never failed to think "I'm on top of the world".

    Cassandra Louis

    My four weeks spent in Florence, Italy seem like a dream. Honestly, how many people can say that they lived in an apartment in the heart of Florence for four weeks? I am proud to say that I did it. From walking past the Duomo everyday, to riding a donkey in Greece, to raving at Ultra Music Festival in Croatia, and finally to soaking up the sun in the Amalfi Coast, I am proud to say that Europe has changed me forever. I have made a ton of new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. The best thing I learned in my time abroad is that the only thing that will change when you get home is you, and that change will be for the better! So don't be afraid to leave your life at home for a while, because the only thing you will regret years from now is not making the decision to study abroad!

    Corinne McDonald

    Studying abroad in Italy this summer was by far the greatest experience of my life. There are no correct words to describe to anyone about the memories I made, the beautiful sights I was so lucky to see, and the amazing friendships I formed. Spending a month in Italy was like spending a month in a dream. The streets I walked down everyday in the beautiful city of Florence and the historical landmarks I got to take pictures in front of is only something I could ever have dreamed of. From hiking up a mountain in Cinque Terre, standing in a waterfall in Croatia, riding in a gondola in Venice, swimming in the blue grotto, and to standing in front of the Colosseum in Rome, I was able to experience moments people only dream of. It was simply amazing!

    Jacklyn Cito

    The only way I can truly explain the influence of study abroad is with one quote: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  Italy has forever changed my life as to the ideas of travel and seeing the world.  Being able to walk on the same cobblestone streets as Da Vinci and Michelangelo is just an amazing experience.  I have never traveled far so this study abroad experience was really my first trip anywhere outside of the states.  I was hesitant at first to go to Italy, but thought to myself what's holding me back: Nothing.  I recommend this experience to everyone and anyone who was like me, a newbie to the whole travel experience.  When will you ever get the chance to see the Coliseum, or even ride in a gondola, or swim within the turquoise waters of the mystical Blue Grotto.  You can do all of this if you study abroad! Take the opportunity to see the world and take charge of your life and dreams.  I know that for me Italy was a life changing experience, the only question is what will it do to you?

    Jane Dustman

    When asked about study abroad, there are no words that can truly express my feelings and time spent in Italy because everything I come up with is an understatement.  Even though I was only there for a month, that month was jam packed with memories and experiences that one could only dream of having.  Italy broke me out of my shell.  Me, who is scared of heights, jumped off three, twenty-foot cliffs and plummeted into crystal clear water.  I allowed the church bells to wake me up, instead of sleeping in, so I could go out and explore what Florence had to offer.    There I was, in my own little world, a world I was not familiar with, just living day by day and accepting what was offered.  And each place I visited taught me more about myself.  Every sight and smell, new food and wine sampled, along with the amazing people I met  was more exhilarating than the next.  Life is a beautiful adventure that is meant to be explored and cherished, I'm so glad I had the opportunity.

    Jennifer Goldberg

    When I started out at Monmouth I never would've picked studying abroad for me.  Going to an entirely different country seemed frightening and unlikely for someone like me.  However, over the years I've learned that experience is everything there is to life.  Throwing yourself into an uncomfortable situation will most likely be the best decision of your life because of what you'll learn from it. Although I was at first startled by the idea of studying abroad, I knew that the experience that would come along with it would be well worth it.  An exciting adventure full of unexpected events is what I wanted and it's exactly what I got.

    Jessica Purpura

    Choosing to take a chance and study abroad in Florence, Italy was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My summer long stay in Italy was absolutely incredible. I not only had the opportunity to take amazing classes including Ceramics and Pairing Food with Wine , but I also was able to travel across Europe every weekend. I went to so many beautiful places in Italy including Rome, Venice, Sicily, Capri, Sorrento and so many more. It was amazing to experience the Italian culture, lifestyle and language. However, my favorite weekend was at Ultra Music Festival in Croatia. That weekend will forever be one of the best weekends of my entire life, where I camped for the first time, went to beautiful beaches and met amazing people from all over the world, while enjoying incredible music. During my stay I also completely fell in love with the city of Florence. I was lucky enough to have an apartment right in Piazza del Duomo and next store to one of the most famous churches in Italy, the absolutely breathtaking Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Studying abroad in Florence was the best choice for my last summer at Monmouth and I have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

    Lauren Faria

    I went into this trip not knowing anyone. I was scared to travel to a different country without someone I knew, but I'm glad I didn't go with a friend. I made so many friends while abroad. It is bizarre to think that I had probably passed these students many times while on the MU campus, yet we traveled to Italy to get to know each other.  I know the friendships I made with these people will last long past this trip. A reunion the first week of school is already in the works. I learned the most about myself of this trip. Being in a different country, out of your comfort zone, makes you rely on yourself. I learned to adapt in Italy. I learned to get over language barriers, and to explore.

    Madeline Cretella

    Studying abroad in Florence, Italy was the best decision I have made throughout my academic career here at Monmouth University. Initially, I was totally out of my element as I had to adapt to new surroundings, new people, and even new circumstances. For anyone considering studying abroad, do it! Don't second-guess yourself, I guarantee your time abroad will be the greatest time of your life, and will exceed any and all expectations you have for the trip. Not only was I lucky enough to call Florence my home, but I was also able to travel to different places within Italy, meet people from all across the world in beautiful places such as Croatia, and even had an opportunity to ride a donkey in Greece. I sincerely believe that what I learned oversees - from the day-to-day lifestyle to the memorable moments shared - could never have been taught in a classroom.

    Megan Gow

    Studying abroad in Italy this summer was the best experience of my life! I learned so much about the Italian culture and so much about myself. Living in the city of Florence was amazing. We could walk down from our apartment and walk anywhere we wanted, to dinner or to just get gelato. During the week, after class it was so nice just walking around on the coble stone and just enjoying the beautiful sights. I also got to travel a lot throughout my time being there. Every weekend I was going somewhere new in Italy! Seeing all the amazing art and architecture was surreal, it was beautiful. Planning all the trips and finding our way around was something that I learned a lot from. I had to figure things out on my own and sometimes it didn't go as planned but in the end everything always worked out for the better. I hope to return to Italy some day because it was such an awesome experience. Monmouth Universities study abroad program is a wonderful organization and I am so glad I am apart of a group of people that can say they studied abroad.  This was an experience that I will never forget!

    Megan Poeschl

    Everyone who comes back from studying abroad says the same thing. They loved their time there and you will never truly understand it until you experience it. I always thought they were lying. That was until I actually went. I knew this experience was going to be amazing but I never knew how  amazing until I got the courage to actually go. I fell in love with Italy in the short month that I was there. I fell in love with the buildings, the churches, the artwork and most importantly the people. I fell in love with everything about Italy, even the little things. This was an experience that I will never forget. I made new friendships and I learned that I was capable of so much more. This was truly the best month of my life.

    Michael Kelvy

    Studying abroad was most certainly the best thing that I have done in my college career. I had wanted to study abroad since my sister studied in England her junior year. It is an experience that you will never encounter again. Sure, you will travel throughout your life, and most people have taken vacations before, but when someone studies abroad they are on their own in an entirely different environment and it is a way for them to not only gain a new perspective and mature, but also to realize the comforts and advantages that we take for granted in the United States. I personally wanted to study in Italy because I am a history major, but by the time my study abroad period was over, I had learned so much more about their culture, mostly the food and wine. The best advice I could give to someone who is thinking about studying abroad is to stop thinking and just do it! If you can make the tough decision to leave your comfort zone, then you will easily succeed while you are abroad. I understand everyone is different, and for me, one month in Italy was enough. At the same time, that one month was one of the best of my life, and I will always remember the new friends and everlasting memories that I made while I was abroad.

    Rachel McGivney

    My experience studying abroad in Italy was one of the best decisions I  ever made; it was life changing. Not only did I get to explore and immerse myself in their culture, I learned a lot about myself.  I saw this as an opportunity to grow and expand as a person.  Education is one thing that no one can ever take away from you.  I embraced it and got to enjoy a small taste of our large world that had so much to show me, teach me and offer me. I never could have imagined the beauty and history Italy possesses. When walking through the cobble stone streets of Florence and seeing these god-made churches and statues, you feel like you are in a whole other world. In the beginning of my journey I was overwhelmed, but in a good way. I didn't know where to start exploring, there is so much to see and do in a short amount of time. My best advice to anyone studying abroad is to try to do everything you possibly can. This is once in a lifetime opportunity, so be adventurous and try new things because you never know when you will get the chance to do them again. I am so grateful l I was able to travel all around Italy and to different countries, because I got to meet the most amazing people and see some of the most beautiful places on Earth. There is this quote I love, "We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us" - Anonymous

    Samantha Hansen

    "Yo puedo." Directly translated, the phrase means "I am able to" but it can also mean "I can." Studying abroad has helped me realize that I CAN do anything that I set my mind to. The six weeks I spent studying abroad in Spain have been a huge eye-opener for me. I have to admit that before I left I was a little apprehensive about going overseas for the first time in my life and being away from my family and friends for almost two months. While we were told to be prepared for the culture shock, I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did.

    The first two weeks were a little rough for me; having to navigate through the city and speak to the locals and my host family in another language was very difficult and overwhelming. However, with the help from my professors, advisors, and friends, it became much easier to get around each day. Not only did I strengthen my Spanish speaking skills, but I also gained a sense of independence and a new appreciation of the world.

    Studying abroad in a foreign country that speaks a different language is challenging, but overall a completely enriching experience. I learned a lot about the culture and people of Spain, and even more about my strength and myself as a young individual. I could not be more thankful for the study abroad and foreign language departments at Monmouth University for putting together such an amazing program and more importantly my parents for making it possible for me to go. I had an unforgettable summer in Spain with twelve new amazing friends. I truly believe that I can accomplish more in life having had this study abroad experience and I can't wait to travel the world and return back to Spain in the future, because now I know, "yo puedo!"

    Sean Del Galdo

    "It was the best time of my entire life" is my automatic response to people who ask me about my trip, but even that statement can't fully grasp my experience abroad. Studying abroad in Italy gave me everything I could have asked for and more. I've grown so much, learned so much and have gained a new group of amazing friends; things that I will keep with me for as long as I live. Not only did I gain a new outlook on life through my time abroad, but I got to see and do some things people only dream about doing. I got the chance to go wine tasting in Tuscany, go swimming in the Blue Grotto, and para-glide over the Swiss Alps; and those are just the highlights of my trip. Being able to live in Italy for a month is something that you will not always have the chance to do and its opportunities like these you can't pass u

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    Spain

    Alex Lustig

    After a rough freshman year of college at another school, I transferred to Monmouth University in hopes of a better college experience. While I did like Monmouth much more, I never made the solid group of friends I would have liked to since I was a commuter and did not join any clubs. My Dad suggested I study abroad, and I decided to try it. I have never had such a truly memorable experience in my life. I have seen some amazing places and met some amazing people through this program. I highly recommend studying abroad to any student.

    Bryan Cucinotta

    My trip to Cádiz taught me so many life lessons that I don't even know where I could start and when (or whenever) I would be able to finish! Through a small amount of time of six weeks, I have formed bonds and friendships with almost every single person who traveled with me that will last a life time, I learned to appreciate and love the little things about a different culture that I wish were present in the United States (I want my siesta back), and memories that I will cherish forever. I studied abroad to further improve my Spanish-speaking skills and to put it on my résumé-which I can say that I can do-but what I had not counted on was having an experience where I could say that there is a special place for Cádiz in my heart.

    Christina Gonzalez

    Going to Spain was truly a life changing experience. I would give everything in the world to be back on the Caleta and the ability to go to the Cathedral bakery one more time. Being in Spain helped me find myself. It showed me that I can be independent and that I can conquer anything that I put my mind too. I had an experience of a lifetime that I would not anyone to take away from me. As my time in Spain came to end, I realized that I gained 17 friends, self-confidence and an amazing time. I think having a great group helped make my experience spectacular. We became like a family and we could depend on each other for anything and everything. I would go back to Spain every summer if I could.

    Jennifer Stessel

    My main and number one piece of advice would be to enjoy every single moment of the trip. From the days before you leave until the moment you get back to the USA. When you're away you don't realize how quickly time moves and how fast six weeks goes by. I would do just about anything to go back to those six weeks and live them over again. For me studying abroad was the most rewarding experience of my life and I am so grateful that I got to experience it. I would recommend this trip to anyone and I seriously hope that more students decide to study abroad for the pure enjoyment they will forever have in their memories.

    Jessica Deigert

    Studying abroad in Cádiz, Spain for 6 magical weeks was the greatest adventure of my life. The location, people, travel and more can never be replaced. I not only improved my Spanish speaking, but I learned a lot about myself. I now have full faith in myself to travel anywhere and know that I can do it! I even got over my fear of flying and heights from all of the travelling that I was able to accomplish! On day one, I felt worried and lost. On the final day, I could not hold back the tears because of our departure. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I still have trouble looking at photos from my trip, because the memories are so bittersweet. I never realized how much that this place would mean to me until it was over. My time there meant something and I knew it the entire way, but leaving is where it hit me the hardest. Cádiz, Spain has a lifelong place in my heart.

    Krista Varanyak

    Looking back on my time in Spain, it is extremely difficult for me to sum up my experience in a couple hundred words. I learned and lived through so many new and exciting times while in Cádiz. I made friends with complete strangers, lived with a family who only spoke Spanish, and have enough memories to write for days. I can also honestly say that each day I did something I had never done before: whether it was trying a new food, learning a new Spanish phrase, visiting one of the beautiful sites, or even taking a surfing lesson! Although for the most part, we knew what to expect each day, there was always room for an unexpected surprise. For me, that was the best part of the trip: not knowing what would happen next, but at the same time feeling completely comfortable in the unknown.

    Peter Linn

    In the six weeks I spent in Spain, I felt as though I had enough time to do everything I really wanted. I never felt like I was in abroad for too long or felt too homesick. Also, in just six weeks you can fulfill six credits which is close to one half of the credits for a full semester for most students. Through the process of traveling, packing and living in a completely new culture you start to feel like an adult with responsibilities you may not have ever had in America. Lastly, I would recommend it because it was the most fun I've ever had while attending school. We had a schedule which lay out all of our activities and meeting times, however, we also had the free time if we desired to either go to the beach or roam through the city. It really was an unforgettable summer and I am so glad I chose to go through with this big decision.

    Rachel Werner

    Even when I was applying to schools I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I had taken college level Spanish classes in high school but I didn't know if I wanted to continue with Spanish classes. When I was looking into the study abroad programs that Monmouth University offered I was limited because I am an athlete at Monmouth and cannot leave school during the year. I decided on Spain and then came to the conclusion that I should continue my education in the language and add a minor in Spanish. I had known that I wanted to study abroad for a long time, but considering the experience itself, I had no idea what to expect. Unlike some other people that I know that had studied abroad, I was not nervous in the slightest bit. I was nothing but excited and ready to go for the whole month of summer leading up to the flight from JFK. And from that flight on, I had a permanent smile on my face for the next six weeks.

    I loved every minute in Spain, I loved all of the fairs and festivals and nights out. I would recommend this experience to anyone and everyone. Everyone should feel like I did about this little, poor, quaint city in Spain. Everybody should get the opportunity to have the feeling of waiting every minute to return to somewhere, like I have been since the minute the bus drove us over the bridge to the airport, since I bawled my eyes out saying goodbye to my Madre, since that last morning at the beach. I have always been someone that wants to see everything the world has to offer. I am fascinated by different cultures and the different ways of life people have. I never thought that an experience would make me want to go to the same place twice. But Study Abroad in Cadiz, has done just that.

    Samantha Gross

    One of the biggest concerns among people studying abroad is how they are going to stay in constant contact with the outside world.  From the outside, people are shocked when they hear what happened to me the first day and how I "survived."  The very first day in Cádiz, I lost my "precious" phone.  Until this point in my life my phone was my lifeline.  It was my lifeline to my family, my friends, and the rest of the world.  Losing my phone was one of the best things that could have happened to me personally.  I learned so much about people, the world, and myself because I was not being sucked into the constant need for Wi-Fi everywhere we went.  Every building has incredible architecture that you would not believe was done by hand!  The paintings in even the smallest restaurants are spectacular!  My favorite thing to do was sit on the beach or in a plaza and just watch and listen to the people enjoying life in a completely different way than we do in America.

    While most of the group was texting, tweeting, or instagramming every chance they got for Wi-Fi, I was observing our surroundings and all there was to take in in Cádiz.  There is so much history and so many things that are uniquely special to these ancient countries that we miss out on while we are so focused on what is happening at home.  I know that if I had my phone during this trip, I would be the exact same way as all of peers.  I would be searching for Wi-Fi and missing a lot of the little things that gave Cádiz a special place in my heart.  This experience would not have been so special to me if I had a phone that I was so focused on.

                Now that I am home I have found my self to be significantly less focused and reliant on my phone.  If I leave my phone upstairs for a couple hours, that is fine with me because whatever it is, it can wait.  I needed to learn that life isn't about getting the most likes or knowing constantly what everyone else is doing.  It's about experiencing the here and now and not letting precious opportunities pass.

    Samantha Velardi

    By studying abroad I learned so much about myself and the world around me. I learned to be more independent and confident in many situations. I discovered that it is important to try new things, especially things that you might be nervous to do. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made. I made so many new friends and created memories with people I will never forget. I wanted to study abroad so I could experience living in a different country and take in the different culture. Study abroad has definitely changed my life because I feel like I have become more knowledgeable as to how others live and I have learned that it is so important to step out of your comfort zone and try new things

    Sara Reis

    In the six weeks I spent in Spain, I can say that I lived with a Spanish family and spoke nothing but Spanish to them and the rest of the locals. I attended a university, and took challenging classes by the most amazing professors (who I hugged and cried with when I had to say goodbye). I traveled all over southern Spain, visited glorious historical landmarks, and learned everything there is to know about architecture, art, and history. In six weeks I walked over 100 miles and drank thousands of liters of water. I traveled to Ibiza for a weekend, danced until five in he morning with some of my closest friends, and jet skied through the Mediterranean (and even lost an earring in it!). I ate the best, authentic food, tried different kinds of wine, and ate olives every. Single. Day. I set goals, and I reached them. I accomplished all of these amazing things before my 21 st  birthday.

     If you have the slightest desire to study abroad, JUST DO IT. There is nothing to be afraid of. You'll probably change as a person, because after you live in a foreign country for a long period of time, your perceptions about others, the world, and yourself will change. You may actually find the 'you' that you have been looking for.

    I can't promise you anything about your experience, but I can DEFINITELY promise that you WILL regret it if you don't go. ¡Viva la España

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