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IES: Rome, Study Rome, Language & Area Studies
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Nicole Scelta

Major: Global and International Studies, Telecommunications
Hometown: Warwick, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew from the very beginning of my freshman year that I wanted to study abroad as a sophomore. During my second semester at Penn State, I sat down with my academic advisor to discuss the logistics and the different programs offered. Having the idea of studying in Italy in mind, my advisor showed me all of the different programs and helped me decide which program to apply to.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Before I left, I was very hesitant, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had been to Rome before, but it is completely different to travel to a city than to actually live in a city. I also went into this program not knowing a single person, which was incredibly nerve-racking. But it was so easy to just dive right into this experience and make friends. I've been able to travel around Italy and around Europe, which has been honestly unreal. I feel so lucky and sometimes I genuinely can't believe that this is my life. Living in the center of Rome sometimes makes me feel like I have to pinch myself. It's surreal to walk home from school and see the Vatican across the river or look out the window during class and see Castel Sant'Angelo right in front of me. It's been strange to be out of my comfort zone for so long, and I'm excited to go home soon, but at the same time I can't believe I'm leaving in a few weeks. This semester has flown by, and I'm so grateful that I decided to do this.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I think that this experience has definitely challenged me academically in a new and different way. I took a lot of general elective courses this semester that I definitely would not have appreciated the same way if I took them back home in the United States. For example, I'm currently in an Ancient Rome history course, where almost every week we go and see Ancient Roman ruins. I find it so valuable to go see all of the history that I've learned about during lectures. I'm also enrolled in a Renaissance Art History class, and last week we had the opportunity to go to Florence for a day and see pieces we've been studying all semester. I actually gave my final presentation in the Uffizi Gallery on a Michelangelo painting. Experiences like these are definitely ones that I wouldn't have had if I never studied abroad.

It's surreal to walk home from school and see the Vatican across the river or look out the window during class and see Castel Sant'Angelo right in front of me.

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

Considering one of my majors is Global and International Studies, I really wanted to experience another culture. By studying abroad, I've been exposed to so many new things that I was completely unaware of before. I also think that this semester has definitely made me more confident. I am a lot more independent, and I think that's something that'll definitely help me in my career. I've grown accustomed to not knowing what to expect and really just adapting to my surroundings. I think that studying abroad has allowed me to grow, hopefully into a more intellectual individual. I think the exposure I've gained here makes me a more diverse and interesting candidate. I hope that this experience and the knowledge that I've gained here in Rome continue to impact me when I return home.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend studying abroad to any and all students. It's such a unique opportunity to really challenge yourself. I've never felt more out of my comfort zone, but I genuinely loved it. It is an opportunity that doesn't come around often, and if you're interested, go for it. It was definitely intimidating at first, but I know that I will never regret my study abroad experience.

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