#StudyAbroadBecause it is Unforgettable and Irreplaceable

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Feb 16, 2015 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Gina Granauro is an International Economics and Modern Language student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys learning about different cultures, exploring new places, and seeing the world in different perspectives. Her favorite destination she has visited is Istanbul, Turkey! Find her online at www.gisforglobal.wordpress.com

 

Gina Granauro - #StudyAbroadBecause it is Unforgettable and Irreplaceable

 

What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?

There were many factors that led me to study abroad. I wanted to travel internationally for the first time, meet my distant relatives, be immersed in the Italian language that I was learning, and expand my horizons. I chose to study with API in Florence, Italy because of the excursions that were offered in the cost of the program. I also chose API because they were extremely accommodating after arrival in the host country. This was important for me because I had never traveled outside of the United States before.

 

What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?

My experience was unforgettable, irreplaceable, and more than I could have ever imagined it to be. It’s very hard to narrow down to one favorite memory because there are so many. Wandering cobblestone streets while the sun set, meeting in person my distant relatives who I had met through Facebook, seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, the street performers in Spain, and the breeze in Santorini… just to name a few! Carrying my luggage around was difficult, missing my flight in Istanbul, and my bank freezing my debit card were a few challenges, but I survived!

 

What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad?

I am now more culturally aware and sensitive because I met people from all over the world. I am now more independent, because I lived and functioned in another country away from my parents. I have better navigational skills, because I used maps everywhere I went and developed my own sense of direction.

 

Has your experience helped you get to where you are today?

Without my experience abroad, I would not be the same person. I would not be passionate about my field of study or getting to know people of different cultures.

 

What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?

Save up as much money as you can before you go and apply for scholarships! Don’t spend all of your money on alcohol or club entrance fees… it’s not worth it. Never give your money to beggars. Don’t book extra travel destinations until after you have your syllabi, don’t go where all the Americans go, and follow your heart. Go where your heart takes you.

 

Study Abroad Tips from college student Gina Granauro. #StudyAbroadBecause it is Unforgettable and Irreplaceable

 

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?

I consider myself a global citizen after studying abroad. I feel that I am more culturally sensitive and aware than most students who haven’t studied abroad. I also feel that my intercultural communication skills are much better than they were before. My eyes were opened to how the other side of the world functions and I now have a different perspective on how I live my life as an American.

 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Because of my experience abroad and my internship with API, I won an award for the Study Abroad Student of the Year at Georgia State University.

 

#StudyAbroadBecause it is Unforgettable and Irreplaceable

 

Photo courtesy and copyright Gina Granauro
Study Abroad Tips photo courtesy unsplash, adapted by Wandering Educators