La vita oltre i nostri confini: Life beyond our borders


Castello dell’Imperatore, Prato, Italy, Jan. 27, 2023

The study abroad experience can be a period of enlightenment for any student who decides to venture out beyond the boundaries of their home and into a new world. Whether a particular student has already spent time outside their home country or has never left its borders, the experience of living in an environment so rich in new culture can provide an introduction to what life is beyond our borders.

My name is Stephen Gangi; I am a junior communication major currently studying abroad at our satellite campus in Prato, a small town in Tuscany, Italy.

I have the opportunity to report to each student—whether currently studying at our main or satellite campus— on my experiences abroad, and to inform the reader of the whereabouts of students who choose to study abroad.

When first making the decision to take on this venture, it is important to consider the implications on your academic journey. Using the available elective credits within Degree Audit is one way many students make a semester abroad possible. Consult with your academic advisor so you can make a plan early enough to dedicate the use of these credits to this escapade.

Once the pre-trip preparations are made, courses are selected and the students are on their way to their new home for the semester, only then does the realization hit. Those first steps off the plane will become some of the most important steps made in your life.

The study abroad experience can open many doors. It presents you with the opportunity to take life by its reins and start mending a bond with it—growing within the realms of independence, maturity and, especially, self-growth. In the few weeks that I’ve been in Prato, Italy, I have seen massive growth in all of us here. I’ve seen people find love, make friends, lose friends and handle conflict as it comes.

If you are a student who is uncertain about the study abroad experience, my advice is to take the trip. This will be something I carry with me forever, and I can already confidently say the same will be the case for you.

Throughout this semester, I will showcase some highlights about the Prato campus and share my adventure. I hope, in following along with my adventure, you find inspiration in taking that next step forward in your journey, whatever that may be.