By: Maura Kucera
Coming to Italy was a big deal for me. I grew up in a tightknit family, seeing my aunts, uncles and cousin multiple times a week because we all lived within 20 miles of each other. My role in the family is the college student that is too hard on herself, but I also push my family’s boundaries and norms. I am doing things that no one in my family has done before. I am experiencing the world first-hand and gaining personal and professional development. I honestly didn’t think that I would thrive here, but I didn’t tell many people that. I can 100% tell you that coming to Italy to join the JSB study abroad experience is the best decision I have ever made.
I got off that plane and didn’t think that anyone would want to be friends with me. I can be a bit serious until you crack me open. I have found forever friends here that I very strongly believe God placed here to strengthen and guide me in all the experiences ahead. When I enter an unknown environment with already very prevalent insecurities, it can be difficult for me to put myself out there and talk to new peers, but I did not have a choice here. I am living with the others for three months, so I could either talk or be miserable. I know I chose the right path.
Professionally speaking, when I return to Auburn, I will turn around and leave for Pittsburgh, PA in January to start an internship. Not only will I be living by myself, I will be walking into this multi-billion-dollar company not knowing anyone besides the Head of Talent & Acquisition and my direct supervisor. Did I mention that there won’t be a single intern, besides me, at that company in the spring? Naturally I would say that the leadership sessions with Carmen Westbrook have made me significantly more confident and headstrong, but this study abroad experience in and of itself has dramatically changed me for the better.