Education Abroad Peer Ambassador (EAPA) Parker went with SAI to Florence, Italy in Fall 2016 because she loved the location, the cost, and reviews from prior participants. She studied photography, watercolor, tempura, ink painting, dance workshop, and a social media marketing. She wanted to take classes that weren’t available at our university, but ones that she “could still benefit from in [her] future career.” EAPA Julie did a UK Partner program with API, and she went to John Cabot University in Rome, Italy for the Spring 2016 semester. She studies speech pathology but mostly took elective courses in Rome. It was a unique experience for her because they weren’t courses she would’ve been able to take at our university. She took an on-site photography course, and she studied the history of the Catholic Church, global warming, and took a media/culture class.
I sat down for an interview with both of these EAPAs about their time in Italy:
Knowing what you know now about all your options, would you make the same choice?
Parker: To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything at all. I would make every choice the same. Maybe go for an extra semester??
Julie: I wouldn’t change a thing if I could. I still am amazed with how blessed I was to have such a great program to introduce me to Rome, and help everyone get settled in. It was the perfect amount of support that I needed but also allowed me to be independent once I was comfortable. My only regret is not using my resources earlier, because I would have studied abroad more than once!!
Do you have a word of advice for those who are still thinking about studying abroad and/or for those who are about to head off to another part of the world?
Parker: DO IT! That is my only piece of advice. If a student has the thought even barely in their head, they should do it. I wish that there was one sentence to sum up how greatly impacted a student’s life could be by studying abroad, but it is so much more than just one sentence.
Julie: My best advice would be to go with the flow but also be aware at all times while abroad. You learn so much every day whether you realize it in the moment or months later, but this experience will teach you more than you could imagine. Take advantage of the time you have now to explore new places and immerse yourself in different cultures. Studying abroad will challenge you, but it will also change you in the best ways possible!
Did your learning impact your future plans?
Julie: Yes, significantly actually. Following my semester abroad, I changed my minor to International Studies. I learned more out of class than I expected I would, and I realized how much I would like to do international work throughout my career. I have gained an appreciation and passion for working on global development and understanding different cultures.
Why did you want to become an EAPA?
Parker: I wanted my peers and UK students to have the same experience that I had. Studying abroad impacted my life in ways that are indescribable, and I feel that you can only get those impacts by experiencing a semester like I had. I want to share that with other students, so they can be impacted in the same way.
Julie: I really wanted to become an EAPA because I truly cannot express enough how important it is for everyone in our age group to go abroad, whether it is to teach, intern, study, or do research. You learn so much and it has really helped me grow as an individual. A lot of people do not think they will be able to make it work, but they are so many resources and way to make it possible and WE are here to help!
Abby King is a senior studying history and classics at the University of Kentucky. She studied abroad in Summer 2016 in England where she participated in the Durham University Summer Fulbright Institution and learned about ancient and medieval history and archaeology.