Compiled by Madison Schulman
At the start of the fall semester, five Endicott students embarked on study and internship abroad experiences in places like the tropical Turks and Caicos archipelago and medieval Perugia, Italy. Each month this semester, we’ll hear from them as they explore and learn about their new home away from home.
For this first installment, we asked these Gulls to describe why they picked their destination and their typical day abroad. We also asked what has surprised them overall so far, and what essential item was a must-bring for their time overseas.
Jackson Burns ’25—Florence, Italy
My older brother studied in Rome and loved it, so it was a no-brainer I was going to Florence. I love eating so I wanted to be in a place that has some of the best food in the world. I also like wine and wanted to learn more about it. Florence is a good place in Europe to get to other countries easily, and that played a big part in my decision. But I was surprised by how much of a walking city Florence is—they’re not kidding when they say bring great walking shoes!
An essential item that you need is a portable charger. You don’t want to be lost without Google Maps, although you do learn your way around quickly. When I have more time, I’ll explore some of Florence’s historical spots. I try to plan my day so that I am never rushed. Some days, I’ll make dinner for myself and go to bed, but other days I find somewhere new to eat and, on my way there and back, I observe some of the beautiful buildings in Florence at nighttime.
Emily Bianco ’25—Turks and Caicos
I chose Turks and Caicos because I wanted to be immersed in the world I was learning about (environmental science) through fieldwork. I also wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people with the same academic interests and goals. One thing that surprised me was the amount of program time. This could be class, fieldwork, community outreach, or whole group games! Due to classes being supplemented with fieldwork and directed research, we’re in lectures about eight hours a day when we aren’t in the field. We do, however, only have classes four days a week.
An essential item I brought with me is electrolyte packages! The environment here is very hot and humid. Days that we’re in the field/sun for extended periods of time are very dehydrating. The electrolyte packages really come in handy to rehydrate in this environment.
Our day starts at 7 a.m. with breakfast. Some days a morning meeting follows, and then we have class from 8 a.m. until noon. From there, we have lunch, an hour of free time, and then back to class for four more hours. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and then we have the rest of the night to do whatever we would like. Two days a week are waterfront days. These days are program time but not class time. We use the morning for recreational snorkeling and diving and the afternoon for community outreach, which includes visiting schools to read to kids, color with the young kids, supervise outdoor time, or play games. Sunday is our day off. This is when we play volleyball, swim, take naps in the hammocks, and recharge for the upcoming week!
Cheryl Mei ’25—Perugia, Italy
I picked Perugia because I wanted to be truly immersed in the Italian culture and lifestyle. It has surprised me how welcoming and patient the people of Perugia are, especially as I start to pick up the language and cultural rules. The classes abroad are more centered on group discussions and activities, while Endicott is more centered on lectures and individual work. An essential item I brought with me is comfy sneakers, as there are many steep and cobblestone streets in Italy.
My typical day abroad starts off with waking up to a gorgeous view of the fountain and grabbing a coffee at the cafe on my way to class. After class, I shop and walk around the city before heading back to the apartment to have dinner with my roommates. After dinner, me and my roommates go out for gelato or drinks!
Kelly O’Donnell ’24—Cork, Ireland
Social Marketing Intern, IGC Global Promotions
I picked Ireland for my internship because I have family from Ireland, so I saw this semester as an opportunity to reconnect with them and get to know my Irish heritage. Another reason is the amazing internship opportunities available through the many relationships Endicott has here in Cork. I always knew that I wanted to work on a global scale one day, and I saw working internationally as a great opportunity to get my foot in the door and make international connections.
One thing that has surprised me so far is how easy it was to adjust to the new environment. Especially after studying abroad in Greece last year—and facing so much culture shock—Ireland proved to be a little more comfortable and familiar. The people are so nice; the city of Cork is very walkable and has everything you would need; and the housing Endicott offers is in an amazing central location, making it easy to explore Cork without much hassle. It does rain unexpectedly here so having an umbrella on me (especially on my walk to work) has proven to be essential. The rainbow afterward is always worth it though.
Because I work 9-to-5, Monday through Thursday, my day typically starts around 8 a.m. and then I begin my commute to work. In the middle of my day, I have an hour break and then I leave work around 5 p.m. At night, we usually all hang out in the residence halls. On the weekends, however, it is usually spent in the airport and traveling to different places! So far, we have gone to Croatia and Norway, which were amazing!
Grace Wlodarczyk ’25—Florence, Italy
The leisurely pace of Italian culture and the intimate community-based environment made Italy seem like the place for me. I’m very interested in the social aspects of Italian society. As a person who enjoys the arts, Florence attracted me because I want to learn more about the impact of art on society.
An aspect of living abroad that has surprised me is how diverse the world really is! Growing up in a small town with a little high school and a graduating class of around 200 students always seemed a bit too comfortable and almost limiting. Arriving at Endicott College, my horizons started to broaden but I knew I truly would not understand the world and the people around me unless I fully immersed myself in a new culture. It truly is an impeccable experience to meet, participate, and enjoy new cultures and people.
Two items (that are practical) that I suggest bringing are electronic travel adapters and a portable charger. The portable charger is always a great idea for your long travel days. My last essential item was printed-out pictures. This item is more personal and helps me remember my family and friends back home. I have been here since August 26 and have traveled throughout Italy to places such as Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and Pisa. I have traveled to Split, Croatia (my new favorite place ever); Munich, Germany; and London.
Study abroad applications are open through October 15. Learn more.