How Financial Aid Helped My Dream of Studying in Rome Become a Reality

April 8, 2020

During my junior year of high school, I started looking at my options for college. I can still picture myself sitting in my bedroom, reading about different bachelor's programs. Looking at pictures of college campuses and learning about student life at a variety of universities made me excited. I was dreaming of how my life would soon be in college.

My carefree daydreaming was interrupted when I got to the part of the websites about tuition and fees. As soon as I saw the prices of these institutions, I got what's called "sticker shock,” or the shock of the sticker price of a university. I didn't know whether my middle-class Mexican family would be able to afford my studies. I knew I needed to look into my options for financial aid and scholarships.

I found myself weeks later at a university fair in Monterrey, Mexico, where I met JCU's Latin American Admissions Counselor, Adriana Mejia Merino. She inspired when she told me, “Don’t rule out your dream of studying abroad just because of the cost. Everything is possible.” Adriana later described to me the different grants and scholarships a student can receive from John Cabot based on their application and grades.

After my application was reviewed by the Financial Aid Office, I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship and a JCU Grant Assistance. The scholarships I received made it possible for me to study at my dream college.

Moreover, I after arriving in Rome to earn a bachelor's degree, I discovered several other options to help finance my studies in Rome. For example, I could become an Orientation Leader, a Resident Assistant, or a Student Ambassador.

In the end, I was also the lucky recipient of the Class Gift Scholarship. The Class Gift Scholarship is a donation from the previous graduating class that is awarded to an incoming student seeking financial aid, helping in the collective mission to keep a JCU education affordable and accessible for every student. Being the recipient of 2018’s class gift was extremely meaningful and valuable for me.

Looking back, if I could tell my 17-year-old self one thing, it would be this: “Do not rule out your dream of studying abroad just because of the cost. There are multiple options you can find to make your tuition affordable. You can do it!”

Carolina is one of John Cabot University's Student Ambassadors. Schedule a call or send an email to if you would like to get in touch with a Student Ambassador to learn more about JCU from a student’s perspective and ask questions about the degree program you're interested in, JCU student life, housing, career services, and much more!

Carolina Tellez

International Affairs Major

Class of 2022

Hometown: Monterey, Mexico

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