Ashley Giampolo
Student Ambassador
Email: [email protected]
School:Siena College
Cya Term:Summer 2023
Anticipated Graduation:5/15/2025

Based on your experience with CYA, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester or summer abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

While studying abroad, you learn so much about yourself and become more aware of things you might not have ever thought about. For example, I realized that I am an independent person and am capable of more than I thought. I was able to navigate public transportation on my own, I was able to find my way around in new places, plan trips on the weekend, time manage myself, and most importantly I was able to open up and make new friends while abroad. Some of the benefits of spending a summer abroad is that you get a taste of what it is like in Greece, but you are also not away from home too long. I found this program to be the perfect length because you are able to see so much and do so much, but still get home in time to see family and friends from home before you have to go back to campus in the fall. Academically study abroad helped me look at things from different perspectives and learn how to really work with my classmates. With the summer program, you are always with your class so I learned how to work with them and listen to their opinions and learn and grow from my peers and in the subject too. Studying abroad also contributed to my professional development because I got exposed to a different culture and learned how to adapt to this change. I also learned how to adjust to different mannerisms, which can help me later on in my career. However, overall study abroad's biggest benefit is the amount you will learn about yourself. You learn how new weaknesses and strengths of yours and ultimately grow from the experience. Studying abroad allows you to view life through a different lens. You get exposed to new things, things you will like and things that you will hate, but the exposure only helps you learn more. Study abroad allows students to learn so many new things in and out of the classroom and has endless benefits.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in or planning to study abroad with CYA?

Before studying abroad, I wished I knew more Greek. I went in only knowing how to say hi, and I wish I knew more because the locals loved it when we showed that we were trying to speak Greek. I also wish I had brought more cash and really planned out a budget. Some places/activities were cash only, and getting cash in Greece was always a pain. I also found having more cash helped me budget myself better, whereas once I ran out, it was easy just to swipe my card and spend more. I also wish I knew more about greek mythology because it is a big part of the Greek culture.

please select any of the following that apply to you, and that you would be willing to share about your CYA experience with other students:

Finances, First-time international traveler, Mental health, Religion, Student athlete

Briefly describe a cultural experience you had that was significant to you in any way.

One cultural experience I had was how direct everyone is. People would say exactly how they felt and wouldn't sugarcoat it. I remember I was talking to a local in Milos, and interrupted him and then immediately apologized for interrupting him, and he questioned me as to why Americans are always apologizing for saying what's on our mind. I thought that was significant to me because the way people communicate is different in Greece than in America.

Favorite food in Greece?

Gyro!!!! Had one almost everyday and took a picture of each gyro I had to rank my favorite ones!

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