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International Studies Institute
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Jessica Chesloski

Major: Political Science, Communications Arts and Sciences
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Pennsburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

Studying Abroad is something that I have always wanted to do. Penn State makes it really easy to find out the information that you need to know. All you have to do is go to the PSU Education Abroad website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Florence is a city in Tuscany; it is the perfect size for being a city. It is small enough so that you can get familiar, but it still offers a variety of places to explore and experiences. It is antique while being modern. I love Italy and especially Florence. Florence feels like home now. While studying in Europe, I took advantage of being close to other countries. My roommates and I traveled to many different cities within Europe. This improved our traveling skills, and opened us up to many different cultures. We tried different cuisines, and met new people.

How did this experience impact you academically?

During this experience, I have learned numerous things that one cannot learn in a classroom. Studying abroad pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is when you really start to learn about yourself. Traveling to different places will bring up situations that you will not encounter in the United States. Other than leaving your comfort zone, it also gives you a chance to learn from other people. My professors in Italy were extremely knowledgeable and taught me about not only about the class material, but about Italy as well. I learned about food and the history of food in a way that was never taught to me before. I also got to learn a language in the country where it is spoke, and this helped me pick up the language faster and interact with the locals more.

Studying abroad pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is when you really start to learn about yourself.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am interested in working with policy and going into governmental affairs. This opportunity allowed me to see other people’s way of looking at things. I also got to study Italian politics in Italy, and it is interesting to see how they deal with situations compared to how the United States does. Learning a different language will help me when encountering other Italians in the life and in the work force. If I ever decide to go into a job where international policy and politics is involved this experience will help me to better understand it. Traveling this semester has allowed me not only learn first hand but will help me in my future career.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend every student to study abroad. It is an experience that pushes you in a way that you will not be pushed in the United States. There are also numerous places to see in the world, and one will most likely never get the opportunity or the time to travel. College students are at the perfect age to travel, and it forces one to become even more independent and develop as a person. A student who studies abroad will gain valuable life lesson and skills that cannot be taught within a classroom.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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