Alumni Spotlight: Jane Moffat


Give us a little intro!

Jane: I am a Political Science major with a minor in History at Sewanee: The University of the South. I am from New Orleans but I currently live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. In my free time I enjoy hiking and spending time in the outdoors with my friends and family.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Jane: When planning to go abroad most people just focus on the positives. Yes, you will have some of the best experiences of your life. Yes, you will travel to amazing places and make unforgettable memories.

The positives should be emphasized, but they should not be the only thing one expects from going abroad. Looking back I wish I had known how difficult adjusting to life in a foreign country would be.

There were multiple moments in which I was completely and utterly homesick for not just the US, but my friends and family as well. These feelings are normal and will by no means ruin what will be a once in a lifetime experience.

However, I felt that previous knowledge about difficulties I would be facing while abroad would have made my adjustment period so much easier and reassuring. For all of the less than desirable moments of studying abroad there are infinitely more positive ones.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Jane: Study abroad is a very personal decision. Although I throughly enjoyed my time abroad and would do it again in a heartbeat- it is not for everyone.

Make the decision of where, what, and if to study abroad completely on your own. This is your experience, not anyone else's. Study abroad for you.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Jane: Italy is a beautiful country full of friendly people and the most delicious food. Unfortunately, the public transportation system is not on par. It is subject to strike and other setbacks. Simply put, Italian transportation is a hot mess. One weekend I went to Cinque Terre with a group of people from my program. On our way back to Rome we ended up getting caught in a nation-wide transportation strike.

We had to take a ferry, a bus, and our own two feet to get to our train back to Rome. We made it to the train station on time for our 4:30 train, but didn't leave till 9:00. I made it back to my apartment around 3:30 Monday morning.

Although this experience sounds less than enjoyable, it is so much fun to look back, reminisce, and laugh about.

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

Jane: Don't forget about Rome! It is so easy to become complacent about your home city. You become so focused on travel outside the country that you forget about all of the wonderful and amazing memories and experiences that are just outside the door of your apartment.

People come from all over the world to see Rome, don't let it slip through your fingers. When I was in Rome there was this fantastic photography exhibit that I really wanted to see. Every time I had the opportunity to go, I would put it off and tell myself that "I would have more time later."

I never went. Do not, under any circumstance, do that. You will be sitting in the airport on your way home kicking yourself for not taking the time to really experience all that Rome has to offer.