Study Abroad Student Spotlight: Monica Starck, Summer 2018

April 17, 2018

Hello, everyone! I’m Monica, and while I may be double majoring in Dietetics and Life Sciences Communication, at this point I think I should change my major to “Constantly Daydreaming About Rome”. I kid you not, my level of excitement for this summer falls somewhere between getting an email from your professor saying that class has been cancelled and finding out that the therapy dogs will be visiting the library that you’ve chained yourself to during finals week. If you’re a college student, you know that this level of excitement breaks the very fabric of the excitement-meter.

Before I get into what will most definitely be a lengthy montage of the top things I’m looking forward to doing when I arrive in Rome, let me first give you a bit of background on how and why I found myself face to face with a plane ticket to Rome. I’m currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison and ever since I meandered into our study abroad fair as a youthful freshman and saw all of the glowing upperclassmen who had returned changed people after their study abroad experiences, I contracted a nasty case of the travel bug and haven’t been able to shake it since. That day, I told myself that there was no way that I could let myself graduate without studying abroad.

While I had a pretty good image in my head of what I wanted out of my study abroad experience, I ran into a few hiccups along the way when I was trying to select the right program for me. First of all, because I’m double majoring, my schedule is already airtight to keep me on track to graduate in four years. To maintain this very delicate equilibrium, I needed to find a program that would both offer an amazing out of classroom experience as well as cover the classes that would help me stay on track with my degree plans. Enter JCU.

The sheer number of courses offered by John Cabot was unparalleled by any of the other programs that I was looking at. I kid you not, most programs that I looked at offered a maximum of four classes. JCU offers over 130 courses over the summer. This made the decision pretty easy for me because JCU offered the exact statistics and business classes that I needed to stay on track! But wait, there’s more. If it’s not already obvious as to why I and so many others are obsessed with all things Italian, let me explain. Aside from being home to the most mouthwateringly delectable food ever, Italy is also home to some of the richest and most fascinating history around. After taking a European history class in high school, I’ve been itching to hop across the pond and see for myself all of the gems that brought my textbook to life. On top of that, Italy also contains some meaningful family history for me. My great-grandparents hailed from the beautiful city of Lucca in the Tuscany region, so I’ve always been curious to see where my family’s roots originated.

Now, finally, here’s my montage of what I’m looking forward to doing when I get to Rome: I guess we’ll start first with the flight. I’ve never taken a solo flight before, so I’m looking forward to the guaranteed airport panic-fest of me frantically trying to find the right terminals, baggage claims, and all that other stereotypical airport lingo (if you can’t tell, I’m a super frequent traveler... not). I’m just picturing a hilarious scene where I stumble into the airport under the weight of my bags and immediately find myself being smacked in the face by all of the overstimulating airport signs and symbols while screaming some supposedly relaxing mantras to myself in my head in an attempt to keep my cool. This is definitely over-dramatized; I know I’ll figure it out... eventually!

Once in Rome, I am beyond looking forward to meeting everyone in my classes and my roommates! JCU created a great Facebook group for all of us to start to get to know each other before arriving, and I can’t wait to meet everyone! What I am most excited for is to be able to “do as the Romans do”. There is something so magical about being swallowed up by the pace, sounds, and smells of a new city and I can’t wait to wake up in the mornings and see actual Rome through the window. For a girl born and raised in rural Wisconsin, this is going to be a whole new world. While I could undoubtedly spend an entire lifetime exploring just Rome, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I'm also dying to see a little more of Italy and Europe as well! One of my best friends lives in Turin and constantly gives me a hard time about saying that my family is Italian because we are so clearly American, so we decided that we’d meet up on a weekend and he’d show me how the true Italians live! So yes, I'd say I’m a bit excited for this summer… can you tell? Here’s to a summer full of making friends and memories, and feeling no shame about eating my weight in pasta. See you soon, JCU!

Monica Starck
Study Abroad Summer 2018
Dietetics and Life Sciences Communication double major
University of Wisconsin-Madison


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