Noemi (a native of Italy) studied abroad in England, the US and China. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Global and International Education through Drexel University.
Where did you go to school?
When and where did you study abroad?
US: I spent a year at Bohemia Manor High School in Maryland
China: summer 2006 in Beijing at Renmin University (People’s University of China)
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
Studying abroad changed my life. I was able to become proficient in English (my mother tongue is Italian) and I met friends with whom I am still very close. I gained independence and became more self assured. I used to be a pretty shy person, now I am not!
Studying in China also changed my life and helped me decide what career path I want to follow. I studied in China and was able to improve my Chinese language skills, which eventually allowed me to go back a couple of years later and work there as an ESL teacher.
Studying abroad is life changing! :)
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
I have always been passionate about foreign cultures and thanks to living and studying abroad I was able to experience life through the eyes of the people I was surrounded by. We are different and we are all unique. We must treasure each country’s uniqueness and share it with the rest of the world!
What have I learned about myself?! Well, I definitely learned that I am a very strong and independent person. I learned what I call “the survival law”: you either go with the flow and learn how to become “one of them” to enjoy every minute of your international experience or you lose and go back home. I also learned that I will never stop travelling and experiencing life in foreign countries. There is always something to learn and someone unique to meet who can become a long-lasting friend!
What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?
When I first studied abroad I was only 13 years old and the biggest challenge for me was to be able to live with people I never met speaking a language that for me, at that time, was foreign (English). I had to overcome my shyness and I had to learn how to make new friends quickly! Because of my first study abroad experience (in England) I still now have friends in Spain and Australia to whom I talk regularly.
How did studying abroad change your life?
Of course studying abroad changed my life! :)
For no other reasons I can say that studying abroad allowed me to meet my husband! That’s pretty life changing if you ask me! Besides this, studying abroad changed me and shaped me into the person that I am today. Because of my international experiences I am a much more open-minded and cultural-aware person. Studying abroad builds your character; it makes you a stronger person and it allows you to become independent.
What are your future plans?
Right now I am half way through my Master’s of Science in Global and International Education through Drexel University.
Future plans would be either a career with the federal government or with non-profit organizations which deal with international educational and humanitarian issues.
What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?
Do not think about it too much. Studying abroad can be initially tough but it will change your life for the better.
The best advice I can give would be the following: “do not think to find your ways in a foreign country. You have to be able to adapt and appreciate the culture of the country which is hosting you. Be humble and proud at the same time. In other words, do not forget your roots and where you come from, but be prepared to learn and be open minded.”