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Amber Vuilleumier's Study Abroad Experience In Italy Provides A Breath Of Fresh Air

Amber Vuilleumier's Study Abroad Experience In Italy Provides A Breath Of Fresh Air



BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott equestrian rising junior Amber Vuilleumier (Clinton, Conn.) recently studied abroad in Italy. Vuilleumier, who is majoring in interior design, caught ECGulls up on her trip to Florence and beyond.

ECGulls: Give us an overall description of your trip.

My study abroad experience started around the last week of August, beginning with travel week where we landed in Rome. Travel week is a field learning class that took us from Rome to multiple different towns along the way until eventually, we ended up in Florence, the city where I spent my four-month study abroad experience. I also took some trips to different areas in Europe including, Prague, Czech Republic; Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna and Salzburg, Austria; Interlaken, Switzerland; Athens and Corfu, Greece; the Almafi Coast in southern Italy; and multiple other towns in Italy like Cinque Terre, Lucca, Pisa, Morano, Bolzano, Perugia, and many more. 

ECGulls: Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall study abroad experience was a breath of fresh air. It was a great break from my usual busy life running from class, to work, to practice, to clubs, etc. Instead, I embraced a whole new part of myself that I didn't know I had. I don't think of myself as an adventurous person but all my traveling, all that excitement, helped me realize how much I appreciate adventure and how I am capable of taking a step back and really enjoying life. I made so many new, lasting connections with people and I just really appreciate that I was able to realize my other half of myself.

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

I greatly encourage study abroad because not only is it a nice change and a much-needed break, but it's also an eye-opening experience to whole other life possibilities. You make amazing new friends and get to see extraordinary places. I became more culturally aware and I constantly refer back to my experiences abroad. I have yet to experience anything like it. 

ECGulls: What was the biggest lesson you learned?

A big lesson I learned is to not be afraid to discover and explore by yourself. I learned to relax which is a huge thing for me but I also learned to do things for myself. I wanted to make the most of my experiences and when I couldn't find people to join me, I would go out on my own. I would walk to the town of Florence with a sketchbook and just stop in random places to sketch out the scene and other times I would try to get "responsibly lost" so that I could discover a whole new corner of my new home.

ECGulls: What was your favorite experience?

There were so many great experiences but one of the ones that really meant a lot to me was in Interlaken, Switzerland. I have family from Switzerland and have been fortunate enough to visit a few times already but this time was different. I went with one friend and was able to show her everything I knew about the town, the area and the culture but we also explored new things too. We kayaked to the middle of the Brienz lake where the water is a beautiful turquoise and extremely clear. What made it such a memorable experience was being surrounded by these towering mountains on all sides and then having the possibility to drink from the lake! Weird, but our guide assured us that the water is so clean, especially near the center, that he fills up his water bottles all the time so to say I kayaked in Switzerland, beneath all these mountains and tasting that glacier water was pretty incredible and serene.

ECGulls: Describe the educational side of the program.

The classes I took abroad, I really enjoyed. I took an Italian language course and a health and fitness course that I really enjoyed. These classes took us out in the city so that we could experience the culture, not just learn about them. The same went for our one-week travel course which took us to multiple different towns around the province of Tuscany. As much fun as those were, I still took classes specified for my major, Interior Design, which included a lighting course, a studio course, and an architectural history course.


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."

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.   

#ThisIsEndicott: Alexandra Barmore '19 | Lauren Sheehan '18 | Abby Keim '19 | Zach DeNike '20 | Chris Lipscomb '17, M'18 | Ryan Small '17 | Nicole Manelas '17 | Nicholas Fichtner '20

STUDY ABROAD: Margot Andreasen Learns Valuable Life Lessons Abroad | Ryan Healy Studies Abroad In Europe | KK Palmerino Studies Abroad In Denmark | Balboni, Campbell Get Out Of Their Comfort Zones in Study Abroad Trip To Australia | Patrick Finocchiaro Studies Abroad In Switzerland | Bridget Cott Grasps The Power Of Self-Reliance While Abroad In New Zealand | Hannah Mason Embraces Challenges, Finds Study Abroad Trip To Ireland Rewarding | Alex Dippel Expands Horizons While Studying Abroad In Ireland

INTERNSHIP INSIGHT: Matt Bozek '19 | Ryan Healy '19 | Ellen Carter '19 | Courtney Walpole '19 | Hayley Arduini '19 | Christopher Billings '19 | KK Palmerino '19 | Justin Horine '19 | Gina Sherman '19 | Kyle Wollman '19

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(Photo Credit - Amber Vuilleumier)