Study Abroad Advice from Ambassador Caroline Giaimo: How Studying Abroad Will Change You

Meet Caroline Giaimo, our November 2016 Ambassador of the Month. Caroline shares her experience meeting and communicating with local students, especially in a foreign language.

Caroline is a senior at Villanova University majoring in Finance & International Business, and she is an alumna of the IES Abroad European Union Program in Fall 2015.

IES Abroad: What does study abroad mean to you?

CG: Study abroad to me is freedom. While you have to be independent in college, being abroad is a whole new level, and it's thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I absolutely love it! Study abroad for me is where I've seen the most personal growth, and where I've learned more in a hands-on way than in a classroom.

IES Abroad: Why IES Abroad?

CG: IES Abroad offered many programs and I had a really tough time deciding between them! I loved that there were many different courses to choose from on the EU Program, and multiple long trips set up through the program.

IES Abroad: How did you meet locals abroad?

CG: It was really cool to live with German students in Freiburg! They were able to suggest all of the cool local places to hang out and meet other students.

IES Abroad: That’s for sure a great foot in the door! What was your greatest study abroad challenge, and how did you overcome it?

CG: When I went abroad to Germany, I spoke no German whatsoever. Freiburg is a smaller town, so not everyone speaks English, and it was a really tough transition at first. Eventually, though, you realize that people are just people and it's not so scary to try and communicate in a foreign language!

IES Abroad: What would tell someone who’s on the fence about studying abroad?

CG: I would absolutely encourage them to go. Study abroad changed my life for the better, and I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today had I not gone. It may seem scary at first, but the risk will always pay off.

Thanks, Caroline!

Interested in learning more? Speak to one of our 600+ Volunteer Ambassadors!

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