Alumni Spotlight: Grace Vitale

Grace is a third year Marketing Major at the University of Florida. She studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland with CAPA during Summer 2018.

Why did you choose this program?

I always wanted to study abroad for as long as I could remember and finally found the perfect program with CAPA through my University's business school. I wanted to do an internship in addition to taking classes in an English-speaking country, so CAPA's Dublin, Ireland program was ideal. I was able to take classes relevant to my major, as well as gain professional experience in my field of study at my internship.

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

CAPA provided us with almost everything we needed over the summer. We stayed in an "aparthotel" called Staycity, where the lobby was open 24/7 with receptionists and the apartments were cleaned once a week. It was in a perfect location as well, so I really enjoyed living there!

CAPA also provided us with insurance, public transportation within the city, tuition fees, and used our information to place us into our internships for us. We were responsible for our meals and weekend trips.

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

Don't get carried away with spending money as if you were on vacation! It's great to treat yourself and try new things once in a while to make the most of the experience, but always remember that you are living there for an extended period of time that might cause your expenses to really add up! Local grocery shops are very inexpensive in Dublin, so take advantage of buying groceries to cook at home instead of eating out all the time.

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

Almost everyone's schedules are different, depending on your internship and classes. The standard week is two and a half days of your internship and three days of classes, sometimes with the two overlapping. Here and there our schedules got flipped around so that we would have three-day weekends, allowing us more time to travel around, not only Ireland but the rest of Europe as well.

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

One of my biggest fears going into my experience was definitely how my internship was going to be. I was nervous to be the only American in an office full of Irish locals, but was pleasantly surprised to find that my company had employees from all over the world. Everyone was so welcoming and eager to help me learn, giving me the best experience I could have had.

Is there anything you would have done differently on this trip?

One thing I definitely would have done differently was my packing strategy. People always say to pack light, but I really wish I packed lighter. Not only did I end up having to pay overage fees both on the way to Europe and on the way back to America, but I also didn't end up using a lot of what I brought with me. Be realistic and remember there are stores across the pond too in case you forget something!