The Choice to Study Abroad Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

November 13, 2023
JCU students studying abroad in Rome
Elizabeth Calvin
Written By
Elizabeth Calvin

Studying abroad is an experience that many students around the world aspire to turn into reality. It offers a unique opportunity to embrace independence in a way you likely never have before. Bidding adieu to your comfort zone and temporarily parting ways with your friends, family, and the familiar college life you have grown accustomed to for a semester or more. While this sounds thrilling to many, it can also be incredibly intimidating. Moving to an unfamiliar city you have possibly never been before? Learning a new language, struggling with the idea of not being able to communicate with anyone? What if you don’t make any friends and are too far away from your family? These are normal, rational questions you ask yourself when it comes to making the decision to study abroad. John Cabot University understands what you’re feeling and knows that many students worry about these things, even after they arrive.  

Get to Know Rachel Romano

Rachel Romano is a junior from New Jersey studying at John Cabot University for the Fall 2023 semester. Rachel’s home institution is Washington and Lee University, where she’s surrounded by her best friends and only a few hours from her parents. When asked about her fears concerning studying abroad, she said, “I have always lived at home and am very close with my family, so leaving the United States for the first time and moving to a new country all alone led me to worry whether I would have a hard time making new friends or I’d become extremely homesick. I also worried about being identified as a tourist or being less educated than peers from other countries.” 


Rachel blog 1

Study Abroad student Rachel Romano


Get to Know Maddy Hayes

Maddy Hayes, a senior from American University, also studying for the Fall 2023 semester at John Cabot, echoed similar concerns. “I am comfortable at my home university. My friends are there, my community is there, I know the campus and the city. I was terrified to leave my comfort zone and fly across the world to somewhere I have never been and live there for months. What if I hate it?”  


Maddy Blog 1

Study Abroad student Maddy Hayes


Adjusting to Life at JCU

Fast forward a little over three weeks into their program at JCU, Rachel and Maddy have adjusted to their new university in the heart of Rome. Rachel shared her feelings about how JCU made her feel welcome from the moment she arrived at the airport. “JCU really helped me. The people who greeted me at the airport made me feel excited. To immediately be greeted by degree-seeking orientation leaders who were able to answer my initial questions and calm my nerves made for a positive start to my journey.” Notably, the orientation leaders for study abroad students are JCU students themselves. They offer the perspective of someone who studies at JCU and lives in Rome all school year. Sometimes, seeing that, is all it takes to make you feel safe in your first moments abroad. Rachel continued by saying, “Starting by being picked up at the airport, I was surrounded by students in similar situations that I could connect with and immediately begin to form friendships with.” The orientation process begins with students going through the first steps of getting their housing assignment and information for the first few days in the new city. The group setting makes it easier and more reassuring to make friends right from the start.  


IMG_1187-1Orientation Leaders help students to smoothly transition to JCU


Maddy had a nearly identical response when asked how she felt when she first arrived. “I knew from the time I met the orientation leaders when I at the airport that JCU administration would help me just like AU does.” When Maddy faced housing difficulties in her first week, her Resident Advisor (RA) and the JCU housing staff were there to listen, support, and quickly find solutions. “It felt like JCU really cared about me and wanted to make sure I was okay. If it weren’t for the people at this university that first week, I don’t think I would have stayed abroad.” JCU understands how challenging the first few days and even weeks abroad can be for students. Adjusting to a new lifestyle and environment can be more difficult for some than others, but they know how to help. Maddy experienced first-hand the way JCU puts their students first to make sure every individual is prioritized. “I didn’t feel alone, which was one of my biggest fears coming here. I really am grateful.”  

What sets JCU apart is not only the presence of our wonderful student ambassadors, but also our commitment to you even before you make the choice to come to JCU. Our Admissions Counselors are readily available for conversations via email or phone, their primary role being to support you as you navigate the decision-making process and guide you through the application process. Speaking to experienced and caring counselors who know how to tackle the difficult questions is just one of the amazing ways JCU supports students. Once you arrive, the Counseling Center remains available for whenever you need it. Maddy said, “When I had my housing issue in the first week, I was lucky enough to have immediately clicked with my roommates and formed a strong support system right off the bat. This did not stop JCU from ensuring that I knew what counseling services were available to me if I felt like I needed to rant or talk about my mental health. It really made a difference just simply knowing it was there.”  


At John Cabot we are dedicated to making your study abroad experience a transformative and rewarding journey. Our comprehensive support system, from our Admissions Counselors to on-campus services, is designed to help you navigate the challenges of studying in a new country. We are devoted to making you feel welcome, supported, and confident in your decision to go abroad with us. Don’t let fear hold you back from the incredible opportunities that await you at JCU.  


Are you ready to begin your study abroad experience at our university in Rome?

Contact John Cabot University to learn more!

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