During the Spring 2019 semester, I studied abroad through CIEE’s Open Campus program in Copenhagen, Denmark; London, United Kingdom; and Rome, Italy. I chose this program because it gave me the opportunity to study in more than one country and immerse myself in multiple cultures. CIEE offered a weekend study tour every six weeks, and each one was a major highlight during my time abroad. In Copenhagen, we went to Aalborg, Denmark and learned about sustainable fishing, saw ancient Viking settlements, and watched the sunset on cliffs overlooking the sea. In London, our study tour was to Edinburgh, Scotland. We saw the Edinburgh Castle, had a traditional Scottish meal, and toured the Scottish countryside. My final
study tour in Rome was to Turin, Italy. We attended a pasta-making class, visited the Egyptian museum, and toured the National Cinema Museum. Each study tour allowed me to learn about another part of the country I was studying in and develop friendships with other study abroad students in the program.
Everyone always asks, “what was your favorite city?” I am never able to answer this question directly because each location provided such a unique experience. I would say that Denmark had the most fascinating society. I loved how quiet and calm the streets were, their reputation for sustainability and their balanced lifestyle. London was the busiest city and had an endless amount of things to see and do. I loved seeing the cultural diversity, navigating through the bustling city, and seeing the city’s renowned landmarks. Rome was the most beautiful city. It was filled with the most picturesque streets, delicious food, and the richest art history. I had the strongest group of friends, and we loved walking all around Rome exploring the Eternal City. Each location had different languages, customs, currencies, public transportation systems, weather, fashion styles and so on. It was always so exciting getting to see what each city had to offer.
Studying abroad is a huge commitment, but more than worth it. Specifically with my program, you have to be able to adjust and adapt quite frequently and be open to new experiences. In the end, my program helped me become more adaptable, as I did have to pack up, leave the comfort of a city I had grown to know and love, enroll in new classes, learn the ins and outs of a new city, and make new friends every six weeks. Although this sounds daunting, it was truly an amazing opportunity and taught me resiliency during times of change and unfamiliarity. Traveling by myself was also something that filled me with a lot of anxiety, but it was the best thing I could have done for myself. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone, meet new people, ask for help when I needed it, and to take responsibility for myself. I can confidently say that I have grown in my independence. For anyone interested in studying abroad, just do it. It will be the most rewarding adventure of your life and help you grow in more ways than you’d expect. It’s a humbling experience and opens your eyes to just how breathtaking this world is.
Cara Kingrea is majoring in Psychology and spent the Spring 2019 semester studying abroad in Denmark, England, and Italy through CIEE‘s Global Institutes (Open Campus). Cara had the following to say about studying abroad, “This past semester was filled with overwhelmingly beautiful places, moments that challenged me, cultures that broadened my perspective, experiences that pushed me out of my comfort zone, adventurous and authentic friends, and lots of laughter. Thank you, study abroad, for impacting the way I see the world and instilling a confidence in me I never knew I was capable of. Copenhagen, London, and Rome – you will forever hold a special place in my heart. Tak, thank you, and grazie mille!”
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