Compiled by Madison Schulman
This semester, we’re following three Endicott Gulls on study abroad and internship experiences across the globe. Read the first, second, and third dispatches.
In this final installment, we asked the students to reflect on their study abroad/internship experience overall. We also asked if the experience has changed them (or not), what they learned about themselves in the process, and advice they would have for future study abroad students.
Cat Montgomery ’23—Madrid, Spain
My experience in Madrid has been a whirlwind of emotions and learning experiences. Just as any good thing does, it seemed to fly by. One of the most valuable aspects of my experience was my immersion into the language and authentic culture. There’s no one to “hold your hand” through the challenging times. Working in another country has helped me gain so many new skills, especially when it comes to problem solving and speaking up in the office. At first, it was difficult to push myself out of my comfort zone, especially when I was surrounded by others speaking another language. I’m very grateful for this experience because I can visibly see the growth in multiple aspects of my life, not just work-life skills.
I would definitely come back to Spain in the future. I wish I could show all my family and friends the most meaningful spots, people, foods, and everything else that this trip has given me, but an experience like this one is like no other—and it’s different for everyone. To anyone wondering if they should go abroad or not, just do it. Trust me. Don’t let FOMO or other fears keep you from this amazing, once in a lifetime trip. Muchas gracias, España, te voy a extrañar!
Jaylin Couto ’24—Florence, Italy
Overall, this time here has definitely been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am so glad I did this. I was very nervous at first because I thought I was going to get homesick and want to come home sooner, but now the closer it comes to leaving, the more I realize how much longer I want to stay. I visited way more countries than I intended but I am so glad I did because it was something I will never forget. Some positives about Italy are everything is within walking distance so you never really have to worry about paying for transportation, plus grocery stores are extremely close to you as well. There are also so many stores and restaurants around you so it's easy to access and get to where you need to go. The weather is also really good; it has gotten cold but not even close to how cold it gets at home. Today it's 56 degrees! Honestly, the only learning curve is understanding how street life works. For example, you need to pay attention because people will run you over, walk right into you, and give you no personal space, so that definitely gets annoying at some points!
My favorite food I had here was the lasagna at Matto Matto, it was so good and the prices were cheap! Honestly, I love all the food here though, it sits super easy in your stomach and doesn't fill you up excessively like the food at home does! I most definitely want to come back to Europe in the future and hope I can spend a couple of months just traveling to different countries. This experience changed me in a way where I feel as though I can be a lot more independent. I was very reliant on other people and this experience forced me to learn that I can be by myself and accomplish things alone. I’ve also learned how to manage my money a lot better and not just splurge on things that I want. Having a limited amount of money really forces you to realize things you need versus things you want! I've also learned that good things come to those who wait, and living in the moment is so important. There have been many trips where I've just wanted to rush and be done, but living in the moment has opened my eyes to slow down and be grateful for what I've accomplished. All in all, I am so sad to come home but very grateful I got this experience, especially at that time in my life I was at. I truly needed this and will always recommend studying abroad because like I've said before it's an experience like no other!
Olivia Reddish ’23—Cork, Ireland
I know it sounds cliche to say you are a changed person when you go abroad, but it's true. Last fall, I studied in Florence and I absolutely loved being in Italy with my friends and learning a new culture. This time around in Ireland, my experience was different because I was completing an internship. I didn't know anyone going to Ireland from Endicott and was going into the whole experience blind and just hoping for the best. I made some of the greatest friends in Logan Airport on our way to Cork. You gain independence while completing an internship abroad.
There are so many things I got to experience while being in Ireland. Learning from a global perspective has been an amazing experience, and I am very grateful to Endicott and Stryker for this opportunity. I am happy that I decided to go abroad again even though I was nervous to go alone. We all think Endicott is small but I can confidently say that I am leaving Ireland with 18 more friends than I had before. Cork was an amazing place to call home for the past four months. The people were so friendly and it truly did feel like home, I will definitely be back to visit!
One of my favorite parts about going abroad is the opportunity to travel to other European countries on the weekend. Being abroad puts everything into perspective; there is much more to life than what is right in front of you. It has made me realize that prioritizing travel is important. Being open-minded is something I have learned being abroad and it's a skill I will use in the future. Over the past few months, I traveled to London, Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Budapest. I loved all the cities I traveled to and they were all places I'd love to visit again. In the next few weeks, I am excited to stay in Cork and do some day trips around Ireland to fully immerse myself in the Irish culture before heading home. The city is all decked out in Christmas lights and decorations which is a nice reminder of home. I am so happy I decided to come to Cork to complete my internship and gain an experience of a lifetime.