#StudyAbroadBecause You Can Make a Country Your Home

Stasia Lopez's picture

Tera Sabatino is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a History major with a concentration in 20th century history and will be starting nursing school in the fall. She notes, "after studying abroad, I caught the travel bug and would love to spend time being a travelling nurse." 

Tera Sabatino: #StudyAbroadBecause You Can Make a Country Your Home

What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?
I knew I wanted to study abroad because I had been abroad before in high school and was looking for the chance to have that kind of experience again. I did not just want to visit a country but instead be able to make it my home which I was able to while abroad. I chose to go to Ireland because I have only heard good things about it from people I knew who I had visited before. I heard about how welcoming the Irish were and how beautiful the cities and countryside were. Also because of my love of history, I was drawn to the country’s rich and tumultuous history and wanted to have the chance to study it in their country. 

Tera Sabatino: #StudyAbroadBecause You Can Make a Country Your Home

What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?
It sounds so stereotypical from anyone who studied abroad, but it is hard to put how much my experience meant to me. It was so amazing that I could go back in a second. Every day was a new adventure and something I will never forget. My favorite memory has to be watching the World Cup games with our group at one of the local pubs. While I did not have a language barrier to cause potential problems, the exchange rate worried me. I had to allot myself certain times to eat out, and be smart when it came to grocery shopping. 

What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad?
While abroad, I learned how to fend for myself. I could not call my parents if I got lost or how to cook certain meals. I learned how to navigate the city alone sometimes and meet the locals. I did not feel like I was changing while abroad, but looking back on the experience I’m amazed at what I was able to do. I would have never expected myself to navigate a city alone or travel from country to country. 

Has your experience helped you get to where you are today?
Studying abroad helped me appreciate the traveling experience. It is not just a stamp on your passport. I have learned that the experiences I can make while traveling are much better than anything I can purchase. It does not have to be travelling internationally either because we know it is not always feasible. I now have a desire to be a travelling nurse and travel the country while pursuing my passion as a nurse.

What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?
My main advice would be to not let finances hold you back. That doesn’t mean to just expect to have money fall into your lap. I had been working and saving up before the program to have money to spend. I looked into scholarships through my major and study abroad office to help fund the trip. Your experience will be worth the money. Trust me. 

Tera Sabatino: #StudyAbroadBecause You Can Make a Country Your Home

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?
I recognize that I am not at the point in my life where I can go abroad again. With that in mind, I still want to keep an internationally focused life. Because I love food (like really, really love it), I like to try new places that are connected to a certain country or region. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
A lot of people who chose not to study abroad may try to put you down when you are so excited to share your stories. Do not let them bring down your excitement. Your study abroad experience will always stay with you and influence you in ways that you won't even recognize. 


 #StudyAbroadBecause... you will never have an experience to travel like this again. 



Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.


All photos courtesy and copyright Tera Sabatino