Alumni Spotlight: Carly Ristuccia


Carly dreams of the day she can go back and reminisce her time in Sorrento, Italy after spending 4 unforgettable months in a dream vacation spot. Having traveled to various countries in Europe, Carly has admitted to gaining more confidence, perspective, and experience hoping to make traveling a consistent part of her life.

Why did you choose this program?

This program offered a unique experience of studying abroad. The location is less of a busy city with many students. It is a small town on the water side, offering an opportunity to connect with the locals who treat each other as a family. The small size of our classes had me much more engaged in my school work and connecting with my professors and classmates on a personal level.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CISAbroad provided me with an organized way of keeping track of all my studying abroad paperwork. They helped me budget my money months in advance before my trip. They offered insights and advice to all the changes I would be experiencing while abroad as well as returning home. I loved having an adviser that knew the specific area I was studying abroad in well.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't stress to much about over spending, this is a once in a life time opportunity to enjoy yourself! Apply for scholarships before going abroad to ease the stress of saving up in time for your trip. Connect with everyone you can, take risks, and get to know people. Never be sitting in your room alone... always be enjoying your new environment. At the same time, be extremely cautious and safe and respect the people and the culture of the people around you. Always try to do things with a group of friends if you can.

Capturing your time abroad is a really important part of the whole experience! I recommend not only taking pictures but documenting your adventures in any other way you can such as: videos, blogging, writing, drawing/sketching, painting, poetry ect. I personally did a combination of all of these things. This is not only a way to make memories but to live in the moment and appreciate every day you have abroad.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day is waking up and looking out the window to the beautiful Mt. Vesuvius in the distant. Then I would stop off at a coffee shop and get my morning croissant and cappuccino for breakfast. Walking to my school, I would pass Marina Grande which is the beautiful fishing port right on the water. I could see the fisherman heading in and heading out at the end of the day.

I would love to relax by the port and watch the waves roll in. After sitting through some classes, I would do some shopping or meet up with friends and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Our local bar in Sorrento was a go to spot every night of the week. It gave all the students an opportunity to catch up with one another and have a drink! Despite all this, every day brought new beautiful adventures.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was not making any friends and having to do a lot of traveling on my own. My second biggest fear was running out of money when abroad. Both of these fears I quickly realized were nothing to worry about. Everyone is on the same boat when studying abroad and everyone is looking to make new friends... so simply being nice and friendly will get you in the right place!

When it comes to money, the estimated amount they said I should have saved was the perfect amount for me while abroad. I spent the same amount each week on groceries, traveling, and other expenses. If I spent a lot one week I would try and save on one or two things the next week.