Appreciating What's Around You During Your Time Abroad

Jun 12, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by Julie Ritz

A CAPA Alumna Interview: Marte Eggleston

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Meet Marte Eggleston, a Journalism major from Indiana University and former CAPA official blogger who studied abroad in Florence during Spring 2016. Below, she debunks some study abroad myths, talks about some of her favorite foods she misses, and tells us how she prepared financially for her semester abroad before her journey.

CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
MARTE EGGLESTON: I studied abroad in Florence in spring 2016, and I went to Indiana University. I have since graduated- just this year! I was a Journalism major. I love to cook and eat so Florence was really perfect for those activities. I also enjoy running and podcasts.

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CW: Share one myth about study abroad that you can debunk for other students.
ME: I think one myth is that you have to fit in as much traveling as humanly possible. Though I did take advantage of the opportunities to travel, I wasn't gone every weekend, and it allowed me to really enjoy Florence.

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CW: Talk about your favorite class at CAPA. What did you learn? What activities did you enjoy? How were you able to apply your new knowledge to the way you explored the city around you?
ME: I really enjoyed my creative writing class. I hadn't been in a class like that for a long time so it was great to be able to be creative. We went to several different locations in Florence for inspiration, and it allowed me to articulate how I was feeling. It helped me see different parts of the city.

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CW: Talk about a My Global Education event you attended. How did the experience help you tie what you’ve learned in class to your understanding of the city?
ME: We went on a gelato tour of the city, and it was delicious and educational. It helped to see the city through the eyes of someone who has lived there their entire lives. It showed us place we may not have noticed.

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CW: Where were the places you carved out as "Your City" - the places you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
ME: In my neighborhood I enjoyed walking to the Synagogue. It was a unique building in the city, and you really just stumbled upon it. I just always found it to be a peaceful building to sit by and observe.

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CW: Did you travel outside of Florence? What are the challenges you faced and advice you can offer other students - in particular to focusing on traveling alone?
ME: I traveled to several different countries and cities while abroad. I did travel alone a decent amount of the time, and it really changes how you see the city you're in. It's definitely a blast to travel with your friends, but when you're alone you can really tailor the trip to what you want to do and see. It's incredibly freeing, and if you really want to go somewhere don't let being alone stop you.

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CW: Talk about your favorite local foods. What did you try that you had never tried back home? Did you find a favorite place to shop for food? Have you tried making any local recipes?
ME: I absolutely loved this one sandwich shop, and I'm sure many other CAPA students enjoyed it as well. My favorite sandwich is foccia bread, wild boar salami, pecorino cheese, and blueberry jam of all things. It's amazing, and I miss it every day. I also gained a great appreciation for vegetables. They're always very well prepared, and I've definitely taken that respect for vegetables back with me.

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CW: How did you prepare yourself financially for your travels, both before you left and while you were abroad on a budget? What tips can you share with future students?
ME: I worked a lot the semester before, and I was grateful to have my parents' support. I think the most important thing is to set limits before you go. It's easy to get caught in the moment and want to go and do everything, but I had a set list of places to go and places I'm going to save for another time. It helped me keep things in perspective.

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CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? Are they positive or negative? Why do you think these changes have occurred?
ME: Since studying abroad, I've really been able to see the value it has added to my life. I gained an incredible amount of confidence that I can handle what comes my way; traveling will do that to you. I feel more open to what the world has to offer, and I look forward to experiencing more of it.

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CW: What advice do you have for other students considering a study abroad program but who aren’t quite sure whether it is the right decision?
ME: Anyone who has even had the smallest desire to study abroad should take the opportunity to do so! It will change and help you in ways you cannot imagine. The important thing is finding the right program for you and enjoying the experience.

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Thanks, Marte!

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Topics: Interviews, Florence, Italy, Florence Interviews