Alumni Spotlight: Marisa Benfanti

Why did you decide to study abroad with ISA in Reading, England?

Marisa: I did a lot of researching on various study abroad programs before choosing ISA in Reading. I wanted to accomplish a couple of things studying abroad: first I wanted complete emersion in a culture however without the language barrier. Studying abroad in Reading gave me the opportunity to live with other students from England and the rest of the world. I had class with other British students and got completely exposed to college life in Reading.

I also wanted to be close or in a big city. London was a very expensive program so Reading was still very close to go to London whenever I wanted. And lastly the excursions that ISA included in the program where awesome!! You definitely got the best study abroad experience at a reasonable cost with ISA in Reading.

Marisa passing by British Parliament and Big Ben

What made studying abroad a unique and special experience?

Marisa: What sets this study abroad program apart from others was the ability to live/make friends with other international, English, and American students. Studying abroad in an English speaking country allowed me the opportunity to become completely involved in every aspect of the English lifestyle and I got to see what it was like to go to college in a different environment.

It was not American schooling like other abroad programs. I lived in a dorm with over 100 other people who were actually from the college that I studied abroad in. I made friends who live in England that I still talk to on a weekly basis and cannot wait to visit.

Marisa with a friend in front of London's Tower Bridge

How has this experience impacted your future?

Marisa: Personally studying abroad has made me a more independent person and I now feel like I can do almost anything. Being put in a country knowing absolutely nobody and trying to survive is truly a unique experience and the best decision I have made in my life thus far. It is almost indescribable how amazing this experience has been and I wish I could do it all over again. It has made me want to travel all over the world.