• 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?!

    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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    Alexandra Appolonia

    I stood on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, sailed along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and climbed to the top on the Eiffel Tower in France. In as little as 16 weeks, I had traveled to Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Paris, Prague, and Germany; not many people can say they have done that. I was given the opportunity to observe different people's lifestyles in all of these distinct countries; this was so remarkable and amazing to me…. The friendships that I made from people all over the world with different backgrounds was such a rare opportunity that I was lucky enough to be given.

    Brianne Pangaro

    For anyone considering studying abroad, but feels that they will not make it on their own, trust me you will!  You will quickly acclimate to your new surroundings, learning about what makes you the happiest, while meeting many new friends and maturing almost instantly. In less than four months, I met the most amazing people, traveled to the most beautiful cities, and did things I never believed I had the courage to do. With every moment I spent abroad, I learned about many cultures and even about myself. Words cannot describe the confidence I felt blending into the busy crowds outside the "tube" and having locals ask me for directions. Though the semester goes by so quickly, what you gain is a lifetime of memories. I have nothing but positive things to say about my trip to London and I enjoyed every moment of it.

    Chris Walsh

    Spending 3 ½ months in London has taught me so much about myself, and the world around me. No matter where you are, the time that you study abroad is a time to be selfish and all that matters is that you get out there and see the world for nobody else but yourself. Throughout this experience I was able to form life-long friendships with the International students, and other study abroad students, adapt to a new culture, live in a city that I now love, and learn more about myself and what I am capable of. I am so happy that I studied abroad in London and would not take back this experience for a minute. Everything I have learned in London I will take with me and use it in my everyday life, for the rest of my life.

    Christina Addison

    Baker Street, the Tube, trains, tea, queues; traveling, early mornings and running around a lot, are just a few things that made up my 3½ months in Europe. I wouldn't have traded them for anything.  Including England, I got to visit 5 countries and I have found Europe to be a treasure trove of history, culture, and amazing people. I've witnessed sights that most people don't get to see in one lifetime. My favorite memory is standing amongst the Scottish Highlands and realizing how small I am in comparison to the beauty of the world, but feeling big enough to take on anything. By stepping outside of my comfort zone, fear became smaller as I took leaps of faith. With my new-found confidence, I aim to venture out and try new things. London is my second home and I pray for the day I can return.  I can guarantee you that the study abroad experience will be inspiring.  

    Matt Scala

    Ever since I spent a week in Italy and Spain back in high school, I knew I would always want to come back to Europe one day.  When I found out Monmouth had a study abroad program in London and how easy they made it, I knew I had to go.  There was absolutely nothing that I didn't like about this experience - and that's the truth.  My most memorable experiences involved my friends, both new and old, and the things we went to go see together.  I love the history, so it was astounding to stand in Windsor and Warwick castles and to see Stonehenge and the birthplace of Shakespeare.  For spring break, I spent the week relaxing in the beautiful Swiss Alps.

    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.

    Rachel Conners

    My advice to future students is to remember that while four months may seem like forever when you get there, it really is a finite time, so take advantage of the area as much as you can while you are there! You can sleep and watch movies anywhere, so why waste Europe!? …Whether it is a different sort of food, talking to someone you would have originally written off, or just going to a museum you never thought you would find yourself at, sometimes it's these seemingly little things that can open your eyes to lots of things you may have been missing!

    Sophie Culton

    I always knew that I wanted to study abroad and London was the perfect place for me. Regent's University is great school to study at because it gives students a chance to immerse themselves in a London atmosphere while still being surrounded by other US students. I absolutely loved my professors and I will forever cherish what they taught me and the places they brought me. This is definitely the right school for any history majors or anyone who is interested in history. I had an amazing time exploring England and I was fortunate enough to travel to seven other countries. Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime and it truly was the best decision I ever made.

    Taylor Cavanaugh

    Studying abroad is the best decision I could have made in my college career.  I have seen and experienced things I had previously dreamed about.  Trips were easy to plan, especially the many that were offered by the school.  I experienced eating lasagna across the street from the Colosseum, Disneyland in Paris, visiting castles in Scotland, and hiked on the beautiful cliffs of Wales.  Living in England was perfect because there is always something to do.  It was amazing how close I felt to London and how easily it becomes your second home.  Expect to gain confidence and courage you never knew you had.

    Vanessa Mielke

    London became my home quickly. I became accustomed to the way the city worked and memorized my favorite tube stops…. The travels that we experienced we would never change for the world. Looking down from the top of the Eiffel Tower, seeing Stonehenge, and stepping where the bagpipers of the Scottish Tattoo had been could never be replicated. Walking through the halls of Regent's and hearing three different languages was something magical. I made friends from all over the world and the United States as well. This was something that I never could have found at home, and I would never change that.

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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.

    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.

    Louis Garbarani

    The entire ride there all I kept thinking was "Wow, I'm about to embark on an experience of a lifetime that some people only can dream of." And that's exactly what happened! Not only did I have an experience of a lifetime living in a foreign country, learning the culture, traveling all throughout Europe every weekend, but I got a chance to learn A LOT about myself and who I am as a person. ...I got to know who I truly was, what I wanted to do with my life, what I was or wasn't capable of, and that it was time for a huge change in my life.

    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 

    Melanie Davis

    "This is what dreams are made of!" sang Lizzie McGuire on her school trip to Rome, Italy and must I say she was so right. Since I was a little girl my one desire was to travel especially to Italy. It did not cross my mind that I would accomplish this dream at such a young age. Returning from studying abroad I learned something about life: take every opportunity and run with it. I learned to appreciate every single thing in my life and to take chances because life is so short. I know many people say this but it couldn't be truer, anything could happen in a split second and I wouldn't want to have any regrets about my life. Studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself and I recommend it to everyone. "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" -unknown author. Do this for yourself, get away for a while, step out of your comfort zone and I promise you you'll see life in a different light. I couldn't be more proud of myself for doing this. I took a chance and I loved it. ​I can say Italy is my second home.

    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!!

    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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    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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