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|
You know the cliché and yes I’m going to say it! My study abroad experience in Australia changed my life!
I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia. I would recommend studying abroad to everyone! Before I left, Monmouth’s program prepared me with a lot of information about Australia, Macquarie University, the culture, and the area I would be living in. Were it not for Australia my life would not be what it is today. I learned so much about myself and the world in general and I met so many people and made lifelong friends who I hope to reunite with again. I will always have the amazing memories of my experience abroad to look back on. For anyone studying abroad, I wish you all the best and hope that your experiences teaches you more than you could have imagined and helps you grow into the person you want to be!
There’s something about London that makes you buck up and put your big girl panties on. When I first heard about this study abroad program, it seemed kind of daunting. The idea of living in an epicenter of fashion, business and theater was more than exciting. But for a girl who chose to go to school an hour away from home and called home almost every other day; being so far away from home, scared the living daylights out of me. That faithful day, my last hours stateside were some of the most nerve-racking moments of my life. My thoughts were filled with so many “what ifs”. Maybe a few were slightly irrational “what ifs”, but they were thoughts whose influence quickly dissipated once I made it across the “pond”.
Whilst in London, there are so many opportunities, for fun, fashion, and theatres (movie and the stage). Most is in walking distance, but certain theaters are out of Zone 1, meaning that you’d probably have to take a bus or the tube toward the location. Two things that I’ve never done before. Yep that’s right before this trip I had never taken public transportation, much less by myself. But thankfully, maps of the lines as well as the routes are pretty much everywhere so it was easy to get around. My new found knowledge helped me get to the basic tourist sites such as The Eye, Tower London and Buckingham Palace, but also to multiple Musicals and Plays (hit up the west end and take a theatre class at Regents you won’t regret it), The British Fashion Awards, London Fashion Weekend, and the most epic of all: COMIC CON!!!
I originally chose to study abroad to boost my resume. I figured what better way to make myself stand out then having an experience abroad. I didn’t understand how naive I was until I settled in to London. Studying abroad helped me to understand the important things in life. Through traveling and living in Europe, I was able to appreciate the little things. I learned to appreciate the value of time, money, friends, and myself. If I can share any advice from my experience it would just be to do what makes you happy, don’t ever feel obligated to do things to satisfy others.
I miss London every day that I have been back in the states. Regent’s University, our host college, was centered in London and the location made it convenient to walk to main locations such as Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, Selfridges & Co., Harrods, and the Underground. I miss the British people who were very welcoming and were a pleasure to be around. I also miss the convenience of London’s location to other countries in Europe. For all prospective students interested in studying abroad, when Robyn tells you that this will be the most memorable moment of your life, believe it.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to study abroad when I applied was so that I could see the world. Being an education major, I know that the life plan I have in motion doesn’t leave much wiggle room. I am going to graduate with my two degrees and hopefully get a job, most likely in New Jersey. Studying abroad offered the chance to travel to countries I’d never seen before, and experience a life I may never again get to experience. So, when I eventually got accepted into the program and committed myself to it, I had big plans to see the world while I could.
Looking back on it, Monmouth’s program exceeded my expectations. I was provided with so many opportunities to ask questions and voice my concerns, all of which were addressed appropriately. I felt fully supported by the faculty throughout the application process and even more so when I was accepted into the program. More importantly, in my opinion, on arrival to the UK and upon making friends with study abroad students from other schools (LIU, UNH, and Roanoke, mostly), I was able to compare the study abroad programs between schools. I, along with my fellow Monmouth students, all concluded that the Monmouth program and faculty provided so much support while we were away, and that our school was the best set up among the others at Regents. I am truly grateful for the Monmouth program; I think it made my study experience all the better.
“In Omnia Paratus.” Ready For Anything. This describes my Fall 2015 semester Abroad in London, England. As someone normally uncomfortable with the unknown, deciding to live in London for four months was a very big decision. I learned how to cope with unfamiliar situations and how to lean on the people around me. The friends I made in London were the people who helped a newbie traveler, ready for anything.
I was able to see places I had only read about. I got to climb Mount Vesuvius and join an impromptu jam session in an Amsterdam train station. The best memories I have were the unplanned adventures, like my trip to Copenhagen that was booked only two days prior. As a die-hard Harry Potter fan I was able to walk in the footsteps of J.K. Rowling and the cast of Harry Potter through multiple tours. I also stood in the London rain for five hours so that I could meet my future husband, Liam Hemsworth at the Hunger Games movie premiere. All these amazing experiences were not without their challenging moments. I missed my family back home, had experiences with sketchy hotels, and lived through the Paris attacks. However, I refused to let those challenges ruin my time abroad.
Everyone says that, “studying abroad will change your life” and I have to join the bandwagon on this. I was able to learn about myself and watch myself grow as an adult as the four months progressed. Studying abroad in London made me ready for anything, especially whatever next adventure may come my way. In Omnia Paratus.
The months leading up to our departure were filled with excitement. I loved the fact that I got to meet everyone else studying abroad from Monmouth beforehand, so I got to see friendly faces in the airport. I was feeling slightly anxious on the drive to Newark and saying goodbye to my parents was sad, but once I saw my group at the gate my anxiety melted away and turned into pure excitement. I knew I was about to begin the journey of a lifetime.
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.
Danielle St Vincent
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
In the six weeks I spent in Spain, I can say that I lived with a Spanish family and spoke
nothingbut 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
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