Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Ryan: One of the main reasons I chose to study in Turin, Italy, was to connect with my family that is located in the southern end of Switzerland. Before gaining dual-citizenship between USA and Switzerland, I could only visit my family for a short period of time during the summer. Having the opportunity to study abroad, expanded not only my relationship with my family, but helped me see their daily lives and appreciate them in another way.
I also wanted to study abroad to meet new people. Through my language and business classes at Scuola di Amministrazione Aziendale (SAA), I was able to not only meet other USAC students, but students in the Erasmus program, and local Italians as well. One of the biggest satisfactions from studying abroad was the new bonds I made with family and friends.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Ryan: I think studying abroad and international education will continue to make strides from a technological aspect. I have noticed more students are willing to study abroad because of accessibility to information and services they can receive instantly. Technology has not only made communication around the world easier (apps like Skype and WhatsApp), but more people are creating travel apps for smart phones and tablets that give you directions, popular locations to visit, translate languages, and book flights or hostels.
International education is beginning to embrace this by creating apps that let students easily access their program information and talk with other students who are going abroad. In the next 10 years, I see study abroad companies including more cultural, pre-departure, and re-entry information in their apps to help students adjust before, during, and after their study abroad.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
Ryan: My favorite traveling experience when I studied abroad would most likely be when USAC had arranged for the students to travel to Venice, Italy for Carnivale. Words can’t express how much fun and fascinating the experience was.
From seeing the different costumes and masks replicating the Renaissance era, to visiting a city that’s main mode of transportation is boat, it was truly a one of a kind. One of the best things about traveling to Venice was to be able to do this with friends. Exploring the city’s many confusing routes and enjoying some of the freshest seafood I have ate, made for a memory I won’t forget.
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the USAC team.
Ryan: A situation arose recently where an airline had cancelled our optional group flight we offer to students two days before the program started in Italy. With the help of the travel agency we book our group flight through, the resident directors of the program site, and me, we coordinated a new alternative solution for the students.
Not only was a new group flight created, but the resident directors and I worked with students who booked individual flights and coordinated where they needed to arrive and let them know if other students would be arriving around the same time so they could travel to the program site together. It was rewarding to see that all students arrived safely and the USAC staff had kept its composure dealing with a difficult task.