I am a junior in the Foster School of Business with a concentration in Marketing (declared) and perhaps Finance (still deciding). I grew up in San Pedro, California which is roughly 20 minutes away from Los Angeles, before embarking on my four year scholastic journey at the University of Washington. Attending school in Seattle was quite an adjustment for me since I was used to assuming everyday would turn out to be a sunny one when in SoCal; however, I love U-Dub mostly because of Foster! The students and faculty that compose it truly are all diamonds in the ruff, and I feel so lucky to be a part of its community as they are responsible for facilitating my study abroad experience.
Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to travel the world to see what cultures from centuries in the past had left behind, in addition to what present-day societies were creating for future travelers to uncover. Foster’s International Exchange Program provided the perfect means for me to fulfill this dream. My international exchange, thus far, has been better than I could have imagined. When I applied for the program, my first choice was to attend Università Bocconi not only for the fashion in Milan but because the school is ranked as the number one business school in Europe, third in the world (above Harvard). Bocconi not only provides an academic challenge, but Milan offers a genuinely Italian experience. I think I have eaten more pasta in my first 2 weeks than I have during my first two years at UW! The night life is ridiculously abundant, the exchange students are extremely eclectic, and the list of things to do is exponentially growing.
I am thoroughly enjoying my study abroad opportunity. I visited Cinque Terre- a group of five gorgeous beach towns along the Italian Riviera known for its very rigorous 6 km hike- last weekend and will soon be venturing to Venice; Munich for Oktoberfest hosted by Bocconi; and Cadiz, Spain to visit a friend also from UW on exchange.
Although I am having a wonderful time now, when I first arrived in Milan, I felt very overwhelmed. Being away from home and in another country is a very different experience when compared to just changing locations in the United States. You have to make new friends, figure out the society and language, and adjust to being away from family/friends. The good thing is that within a few days those intense feelings of fear disappear, and you find yourself completely comfortable in a foreign place. Just remain positive and embrace the opportunity that you have achieved; it will truly be unlike any other and the memories will be unforgettable.