Why I Decided to Study Abroad and How I Picked my Program

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Paige Giordano
August 31, 2023

When applying to college, I was someone that knew I wanted to go abroad. I have always seen it as a unique opportunity to go live in another country without having to commit for an extended period of time. I think that the opportunity to go explore another country and just be a student is not something that will be available later in life. I recognized that it would be significantly more work and a larger commitment to move abroad after I graduate and am working a full-time job, especially if children are eventually in the picture. 

My mom studied abroad in Spain while she was in college and she has shared wonderful stories about her experience. Recently, she even found a scrapbook she made documenting her time abroad and we had such a fun time looking through it. She told me all about what it was like doing a homestay, traveling around Europe, and learning more about the culture in Spain. Hearing all about her experience definitely contributed to my desire to go abroad. Additionally, all of my friends who have gone abroad have always come back with so many good things to say which reassured me that even though there may be some challenges with being abroad, overall it should be an exciting experience. 

When deciding what program to choose I was overwhelmed by how many exciting places I could go study and had to think a lot about what I wanted to get out of my experience. I decided that IES Abroad offered the best program options for me because they offered a variety of classes, opportunities abroad, and a program model that best fit my needs. Choosing which country to study in was challenging for me because there are so many places I want to visit. I ultimately decided on doing the Business Studies program in Milan, Italy. Milan seemed like the perfect location for me to study because I am very interested in working in the fashion industry and Milan is a fashion capital. Additionally, the program offered many courses that my university would allow for the credit to transfer back. I also considered my Italian American heritage and strong desire to learn about Italian culture and language during my time abroad in my consideration for location. 

I will admit that studying in a country with a language barrier seemed a bit daunting initially, but I also wanted to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone a bit. The IES Abroad Milan program does not require you to have any background in the Italian language and the class offerings are in English unless you elect to take a class taught in Italian through a partner institution. Additionally, all students are required to take an Italian language class. 

As my departure date quickly approaches, I am so happy I chose Milan and am really looking forward to being able to explore Italy and learn more about the culture. I am hoping to improve my Italian language skills and enjoy the Italian cuisine. Although studying in a foreign country can sound a bit daunting and there are many unknowns, I am so excited for what is to come and can’t wait for the experience. At the moment, my excitement greatly outweighs my nervousness but I am sure I will have some moments of uncertainty as I board my flight from Boston to Milan in September. I would highly encourage any student considering applying to study abroad to at least look into it. I understand that it can be scary but at the same time, I think putting yourself out of your comfort zone is a great way to grow as a person and expand your horizons. 


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Paige Giordano

Hi! I'm Paige Giordano. I am a junior marketing major at Santa Clara University. I am originally from the Boston area. I am studying abroad in Milan, Italy fall semester of 2023. In my free time, I enjoy working out, reading, cooking, and fashion.

2023 Fall
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