Imagine waking up in a foreign country, looking out the window and seeing the narrow streets of Granada.
For breakfast, a jug of milk that has been left out since it’s been purchased, now sits on the table next to a box of Cheerios.
Class begins in 20 minutes and it takes 15 minutes to get to the university. While in class, not a word of English is uttered by fellow student or teacher.
Studying abroad is an option some students take advantage of during their college years.
Through this experience, self-understanding, independence and global awareness are all concepts that students develop on trips abroad.
Traveling abroad teaches students how to manage life on their own and delivers memories that last a lifetime.
Junior English and communication majors Delta Benoit and Jack Jonas spent last fall semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain.
Fortunately Benoit and Jonas had the opportunity to spend time together along with other fellow Cabrini students on the trip and also time apart which delivered a better opportunity to immerse themselves within the Spanish culture.
They went to Granada through Cabrini College’s study abroad program, which is under the control of Dr. Nicholas Uliano, assistant professor of romance languages.
Dr. Uliano has headed the program since the reorganization and expansion of the program in 2002.
“I hope that all students who study abroad come back with a better appreciation of a culture they don’t usually have and of course, learn to speak the language and come back with something that they can’t learn in the United States,” Uliano said.
He decided to head the program because of his own experience studying in Spain through Penn State University as a Spanish major. During his stay, he fell in love with Toledo, Sevilla and Salamanca.
During his plight as supervisor of the program, Cabrini began three study abroad programs of their own where students can travel to London, Rome, Australia and other countries through affiliations with other schools.
One of his favorite experiences with the difference in culture was when he studied abroad. He and a classmate mustered up the courage to ask out two girls to the movies.
Spain was a repressive, closed and strict society under the rule of former dictator Franco when he stayed there, where unmarried women could not go out with strangers without a chaperone.
At the movies that night, the girls, Dr. Uliano and his friend were accompanied by the grandmother of one of the girls, as a fifth wheel.
Fortunately for them, she opted not to sit between them but in the back of the theater.
Other students have had experiences as culturally diverse as the movie incident.
For instance, one student went over and met his family for the first time in Italy and ended up helping out with the family vineyard. Another student went over to Spain, improved his language skills immensely and met a wonderful girl and now both of them travel back and forth to see one another.
Dr. Uliano suggests that any student considering traveling abroad should contact him and their advisor to discuss their voyage.
Any student with a GPA of 2.5 or higher may or may not be qualified to study abroad.
By allowing a year to prepare where and when the trip will take place is the average amount of time students take before their trip.
Students tend to be hesitant about going abroad because of the fear of future home sickness or missing out on events on campus.
The best advice that he gives for a prospective student is to do research about where and when they want to go.
If any doubts are in their minds, discuss the matter with him or with students who have gone.
During their interview, Benoit and Jonas reminisced about the exchange rate between American money and euros, the gorgeous cities and streets of Spain, the nightlife and the headaches caused by attaining a VISA to study abroad.
“We ordered a plate of papaya that should have only been 8.5 euros. We ended up paying 42 euros for the meal. In American dollars that’s about $95,” Jonas said about one of his first experiences dining out with friends in Spain.
Finding ways to get around the city proved difficult for the two students but after a week or so they became accustomed to their daily routes.
“Traveling abroad makes you more mature and it makes you confident to do things on your own. Coming from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, it was difficult to adjust to being away from home. Going to Spain helped force me to face the reality of living on my own,” Benoit said.
They adjusted to the differences in culture and had a well-rounded nightlife in Tapas (Tapas is similar to hors d’oeuvres) Bars.
They overcame the two-minute showers, the misanthropy from the Spanish to Americans and realized that the Spanish need to learn how to refrigerate their milk.