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"A Month Abroad Didn't Seem Like Nearly Enough Time"

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"A Month Abroad Didn't Seem Like Nearly Enough Time"

Andrea Valverde

By Rebecca Clabby

Since starting college, I have been told that studying abroad is an irreplaceable, unforgettable
experience I shouldn't miss out on. Sophomore year I began trying to figure out how to fit a semester abroad into my schedule. With my Zicklin major, I didn't think it was possible. After visiting the study abroad office and speaking to someone about my course situation, they suggested going abroad for a shorter winter or summer session. The winter session that I chose was about three weeks long. I didn't have to miss Christmas at home and I was back in time for syllabus week! 

The application process had to be done through two separate schools since the program was
hosted by CSI (the College of Staten Island). The process became quite convoluted; getting lengthy emails from multiple offices made it hard to keep track of all the paperwork necessary to go abroad. I recommend visiting the study abroad office once every week or two to ensure you don't miss out on an important document that may cause an issue. CSI was fairly organized and sent updates and reminders frequently, so if you go abroad through CSI, just be aware you also need to apply through Baruch.

I began looking into the different places I could go and was amazed by the options. I was
stuck between two in particular: Florence, Italy or Cooperstown, South Africa. Florence is a culturally and historically rich city, but South Africa appealed to my adventurous side, especially because the class I was considering was about South African wildlife. After much thought, I ultimately decided to go to Florence. A few of my friends had studied abroad in Florence during their Spring semester, and I only heard amazing things about the school and the city.

Having officially decided on Florence, I began to look into other countries to visit during my
stay. People always talk about how easy it is to travel among countries in Europe, so I decided to try it out myself. I took high-speed trains from Switzerland to all over Italy to Germany and back to Switzerland for pretty unbeatable prices. I used trenitalia to travel between cities in Italy and Bahn to travel between countries. A few of my roommates also spent a weekend in Paris after booking a flight that was less than $20 using 

My experience abroad was definitely unforgettable, as I was told it would be. I took a graphic
design course and covered three different Adobe softwares: InDesign, Photoshop, and illustrator. Since the class was only two and a half hours, I was left plenty of time to explore the surrounding area. I went to a museum just about every day, my favorite being the Uffizi gallery. I'm also a huge Italian food lover, so the endless pasta, pizza and gelato was a major plus. A month abroad didn't seem like nearly enough time, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to travel and study abroad. It's an experience that I hope every student has the chance to partake in.