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Andrea Courtemanche Gains New Perspectives Through Study Abroad Trip

Andrea Courtemanche sits on a ledge with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

BEVERLY, Mass. – Simply put, rising dance senior Andrea Courtemanche's (Greenville, R.I.) four-month study abroad trip to Florence, Italy changed her life. 

"Studying abroad was by far the best experience of my life, and studying in Florence specifically was the best decision I have ever made," said Courtemanche. "I had the opportunity to fall in love with a new home, as well as travel to places I would never have dreamed of going to. I gained a new appreciation for life and taking every opportunity that it hands me." 

Over the course of her four-month study abroad trip, Courtemanche took classes at Florence University of the Arts, which counted toward both her major and elective requirements. She also traveled to Barcelona, Spain; Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Copenhagen, Denmark; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria; Salzburg, Austria; the Amalfi Coast, and several cities throughout Italy. 

Through those experiences, Courtemanche learned a lot but one lesson stood out the most. 

"The biggest lesson I learned while studying abroad is to disconnect from the high-tech world we live in, and truly appreciate and take in the entire experience. My group of friends and I decided from the very beginning not to purchase phone plans that would allow us to have service while abroad. This was the best decision we could have made," said Courtemanche. "We walked the streets of brand new places, engaged in intuitive conversation at dinners, and met genuine people from all around the world, all without the distraction that a phone can cause. This small change of lifestyle was eye-opening and taught us so much about the world we live in." 

After describing all that she had learned, Courtemanche also expressed why Endicott students need to study abroad. 

"I highly recommend studying abroad to all college students. This is your one chance to travel freely and grow as an individual while you're young, having no major responsibilities and nothing hold you back," said Courtemanche.

"Being a student-athlete, I understand that it is difficult to study abroad due to the commitment to your sport. My dance team's season is year round, but I was able to participate in our most concentrated, busiest semester before studying abroad. In January, I performed with my team at nationals, and hopped on a flight home from Orlando, Florida a day earlier than the rest of my team. The next day, I hopped on another plane to Italy for four months! With that said, I encourage all students that are thinking of studying abroad to do everything they can to make it work, whether it is a three-week program, or a semester-long program!"   


"One of my favorite experiences while abroad was going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I had only ever dreamed of being able to see this jaw-dropping site in person, never mind being able to be inside of it and look over the city of Paris from its tallest landmark. The way to the top was extremely nerve wracking to me since I am scared of heights. However, once I got to the top, I felt an overwhelming feeling of calmness. I felt so safe up there, and was able to fully appreciate and take in how dream-like the view was." 


"The first week of my study abroad experience was called 'Travel Week.' During these seven days, my fellow Endicott students and I were led by a professor from Florence University of the Arts as we traveled to Rome, Caprarola, Bagnaia, Bomarzo, Orvieto, Torgiano, Perugia, and Assisi. During this week we had educational tours where we learned about and got to see the incredible history of Italy that we had only ever known about from books and the Internet. The classes I took during the semester were called Health and Fitness in the Mediterranean, Web and Social Marketing, Pasta- an Italian Staple, and Elementary Italian. My favorite class was Health and Fitness in the Mediterranean. I got to row through the Arno River, ride a bike through the busy streets of Florence, run up the Piazzale Michelangelo, visit Florence's famous soccer museum, and make delicious, nutritious Italian meals. All of these classes contributed a great deal to learning the culture of Italy." 


"One funny story took place the very first night in Florence. After a night out, my friends and I had to find our way back to our apartment. We were about a 30-minute walk away, and because we all decided to not purchase a phone plan, we had no way of mapping our way back or calling anyone for help. Over the course of two hours, we argued over which church was the famous "Duomo" that would serve as our landmark to find our apartment. This night became something we laughed about every time we passed the Duomo, the largest, tallest landmark in all of Florence by far."


Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.

"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.

Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.

Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.

Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders." 

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(Photo Credit - Andrea Courtemanche)