BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott women's soccer rising senior Claire Shields (Latham, N.Y.) recently studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Here's what the marketing major had to say about her study abroad trip to Italy.
ECGULLS: Please provide a description and/or overview of your trip (where you went, length of trip, other Endicott people you stayed with, etc.).
I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for four months during spring semester 2019. I got the opportunity to explore much of Italy including Rome, Amalfi Coast, Venice, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre (and many more). I also got to explore other countries starting with Interlaken, Switzerland where I got to ski the Swiss Alps. I also went to Dublin, Ireland, Santorini, Corfu, and Athens, Greece. Munich, Germany, and Amsterdam. While living in Florence, I stayed with six other girls from Endicott College.
ECGULLS: Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was nothing short of incredible. I have never been to Europe so to do it pretty much all independently was a huge step out of my comfort zone, but I wouldn't change anything about it. I got to live in a foreign country with my best friends and build amazing relationships with people I may have never gotten to know.
ECGULLS: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?
I would definitely recommend studying abroad to other students because there is so much more of the world to see. I think it is so important to not only visit other countries, but also to have the opportunity to live in another country and truly immerse yourself in another culture. I truly believe it is something everyone who has the opportunity should take advantage of.
ECGULLS: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
One of the biggest lessons I learned abroad was that things are going to go wrong, it's just a fact of life. Many things did not go as planned while abroad, mostly with traveling. I missed plenty of trains, could not figure out bus stops in different languages, flights got canceled... etc. What I learned from that was that I am more adaptable than I thought I was. Of course, I had many breakdowns during these times, but it's important to take a second and figure out your next step. Many of these times all I wanted to do was rely on mom or dad to figure it out (and I won't say I didn't call to ask them because I totally did every time) but what were they going to do? I'm on the other side of the world. These situations took me completely out of my comfort zone but I always was able to figure it out and get to where I needed to be.
ECGULLS: Favorite Experience?
I had a lot of amazing experiences, so to pick one is hard for me. I always tell people the coolest thing I did was skiing in the Swiss Alps because it has always been a dream of mine and it was the best skiing conditions ever. We also got to go to Lake Bern, and the water in that lake is so clean that fish can't even survive in it. We got to fill up our water bottles in the lake and it was honestly the freshest water I've ever had. However, my favorite place was definitely Amsterdam. I loved everything about Amsterdam, the history, the way of life, the people, and of course the food. Not to mention it is the most beautiful city I've ever been to.
ECGULLS: Describe the educational side of the program.
I took a lot of cultural classes while I was abroad; Introduction to Italy, Introduction to the Italian Family, Pasta, an Italian Staple (my favorite), and Criminal Organizations. When we first got there, we did a week of travel as a class where we started in Rome and visited a bunch of places in Italy that I would have never done on my own. However, I am so grateful to have been able to visit those places!
Class schedules are different, each class you only have once a week (but they're 2 ½ hours long). I made my schedule so that I only had classes Tuesday-Thursday so I could have long weekends for traveling!
ECGULLS: Were there any funny stories from your trip?
One of the funniest stories was when we were planning trips, we were really trying to keep them as cheap as possible. For spring break, we all agreed that we wanted to go to Greece for an "island-hopping" trip. Flights were expensive so the cheapest way to do it was to take a couple of busses and a couple of ferries. What we didn't know was that one of the ferries was 21 hours there, a couple of five-hour bus rides, and finally another eight-hour ferry. It was definitely not funny once we found out, however, during the long trips we made some of the funniest memories.
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.
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(Photo Credit - David Le '10)