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Araya Lessard Creates Lifelong Friendships From Study Abroad Trip

Araya Lessard Creates Lifelong Friendships From Study Abroad Trip


BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott women's volleyball rising senior Araya Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) recently studied abroad in Florence, Italy at the Florence University of the Arts. Here's what the marketing and business management major had to say about her study abroad trip to Italy.

ECGULLS: Give us an overall description of your trip.

During the spring semester, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy with about 30 other Endicott students. We arrived in Rome at the end of January and returned home on May 9. At the beginning of the semester, we were given a "travel week" to arrive and get settled in, a week before classes started. During travel week, we were able to see lots of architecture, monuments and learned about the rich culture and history in Rome, Perugia, and Assisi. During the four months that I spent abroad, I visited a different European country every weekend, in order to experience as much of Europe as I possibly could.

ECGULLS: Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Studying abroad has been an amazing experience. During my time in Europe, I met countless people and made friendships that felt as if they could last a lifetime with fellow Endicott students, students of other colleges, and even locals. I made an endless amount of memories. Over the course of the semester, I visited 10 countries and 29 cities. I was able to experience Portugal, Netherlands, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and Austria all in four months, it was an experience I'll never forget.

ECGULLS: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?

I would recommend studying abroad to other students because it gives you the opportunity to meet many new people and learn about all the different cultures, histories, and even try some different foods. Also, studying abroad helps you learn more about yourself as you get out of your comfort zone. Personally, I felt that I grew a lot over the course of my semester abroad. I highly recommend going abroad,  because it is the perfect opportunity to travel and experience more of the world, all while you're still in college and taking classes.

ECGULLS: What was the biggest lesson you learned?

The biggest lesson that I learned was the value of living life to the fullest. Studying abroad put in perspective to me just how large the world actually is, and how many great things there are, waiting to be experienced if you just step out of your comfort zone.

ECGULLS: Favorite experience?

My favorite experience was zip-lining across the Centina river in southern Croatia. It was my favorite because I have been always scared of heights, and despite my fear, I did it. Afterward, I felt accomplished, as if I had conquered my fear. The view was surreal, and definitely unlike anything I've ever seen. That experience was as unforgettable as the memories that came with it.

ECGULLS: Describe the educational side of the program.

The educational side of the program was great. I learned a lot about the history of where I was living, and all around Europe. My classes were about 25-30 people, in all different buildings around Florence. I particularly loved the Italian 101 class because I learned a lot of Italian, and while I was there, I got to speak Italian with locals, which helped me become more fluent. In the future, if I ever decide to return to Italy, I'll now be able to navigate and have conversations with people I encounter.

The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.   

INTERNSHIP: KK Palmerino - GAP Promo | Christopher Billings - The Langham Hotel | Ellen Carter - Gorton's Seafood | Justin Horine - Major League Lacrosse

STUDY ABROAD: Alex Dippel - England | Bridget Cott - New Zealand | Patrick Finocchiaro - Switzerland | Ryan Healy - Europe

ACADEMICS: Emily Sharpe and Eric Owens Balance STEM and Sport at Endicott | Daquan Sampson Always Willing To Learn, On The Court & In The Classroom

CAREER OUTCOMES: 2019 Graduates Plans/Career Outcomes | 2018 Graduates Plans/Career Outcomes | 2016 Graduates Find Instant Success In Job Market 

#ThisIsEndicott: Stephen Basden '17 - ISlide | Alex Barmore '19 - Indianapolis Colts | Lauren Sheehan '18 - Oklahoma City Thunder | Abby Keim '19 - Dartmouth Medical School | Zach DeNike ' 20 - Premier Studios

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(Photo Credit - Araya Lessard