International Studies & Programs

Carly Clark - Social Science in Rome

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Published: Friday, 12 Oct 2018 Author: Cheryl Ann Benner

Name: Carly Clark

Status: Junior

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Walled Lake, Michigan

Program: Social Science in Rome

My name is Carly Clark and I spent this summer studying abroad in Rome, Italy, for the Social Science in Rome program.  My experience abroad helped to enhance my academics by teaching me how to manage my time.  I had to figure out how to study while saving time for exploring the city, meeting locals, and growing closer with my MSU peers.  It helped my career goals because in my future I would be interested in working with those of different cultural backgrounds and this gave me the opportunity to see what that would be like.  My experience abroad affected me on a personal level because I was required to step out of my comfort zone.  I am not used to being away from my family and I can be uncomfortable speaking to strangers, however, I was welcomed by the locals and faced my fears of talking to strangers when I had to ask for directions or which train to get on.  In these situations, I often had to communicate in Italian rather than English, and I was able to do so because my study abroad included an intro course to Italian. I also used the language skills when I ordered spaghetti at dinner, when I was asking for the price of a souvenir from the busy market that was nearby, or greeting the baker next door.  I learned that in my host culture they like to eat dinner later than us, they wear more modest clothing, traveling by bike or foot is not uncommon, and their food is amazing.  Some people told me that when I would go on my study abroad that the local people are not very fond of Americans, and I believed them.  However, when I got to Italy I learned that as long as you are respectful and make an effort to speak their language that they will respect you back, so that is one myth I can debunk about studying abroad.  I believe that other students who studied abroad would agree that we learned a lot about other cultures and how the United States both relates or differs from other cultures.  I think students that have not been on a study abroad should highly consider it because I grew academically, personally, and culturally.  I look forward to visiting Europe again and I am grateful I was given this opportunity.