Undergraduate institution: Roger Williams University
Undergraduate major and minor: Major: Global Communication and Art History
Graduate studies (year, institution, degree): 2016-2017, University of Glasgow, MA Museum Studies: Artefacts and Material Culture
What have you been up to since attending Umbra?
The semester after Umbra I went to Dublin, Ireland for a semester at Dublin City University, focusing back again in Global Communications. After my time in Italy, I felt like I could handle any challenge Ireland could have thrown my way and so I continued to improve myself while I was abroad. Once back in the States, I took on another museum internship during my senior year and graduated with honors with my friends and peers in May of 2016.
How has studying abroad impacted your life both personally and professionally?
Studying abroad was a major catalyst of overall change for me. Personally, the experience made me braver, wiser and far more likely to leave my comfort zone. My confidence in my sense of self, of others and of the world around me grew significantly. Professionally, before Umbra, I was a bit lost. I was in my third year of college, and though I knew my passions and my academic strengths, I was unsure of how to make that into a career. After my experience abroad, I took real steps into becoming not only a citizen of the world, but also a member of global museum community with a solid career goal in mind.
What are you doing now?
Currently, I am studying at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I have made friends both locally and internationally in this new and different city I now call my second home. Similar to my experience in Umbra, I have two internships, or work placements, while completing my program. This semester, I am working with the University’s Hunterian Museum and the National Trust of Scotland’s Culzean Castle. I am incredibly honored and grateful for the experience that Umbra was able to offer me as I take on these two different opportunities.
Are you still in touch with the friends you made in Perugia?
Yes, though much of it is through social media and other online sources, I have kept in touch with quite a few of the friends that I had been fortunate to meet in Perugia. One that I talk to most often is my former roommate from my time there. She is studying in Florence for the year through her graduate university, (just a few months in Italy was not enough for her!) and we have been talking about visiting one another when we get a break from our graduate programs.
What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students thinking of studying abroad?
Just go for it. Do not let your fear limit you and what you want to accomplish. Leaving your home, or your home university is a big step and though it is intimidating, it is worthwhile. Studying abroad is one of the best opportunities to explore outside your comfortable, social bubble and you will grow immensely from it.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students studying abroad (during or after their experience)?
For whatever country you may want to travel to, go with an open mind. Try to learn a bit of the language, engage with the locals, and respect the culture. What is different or unfamiliar from the norm you may be used to does not make it a negative thing – it makes it something to learn from.