Marlo Marisie - Program Participant

Ponte Sisto
Marlo captures a stunning sunset from Ponte Sisto, a footbridge of the Tiber River in Rome's historic center.

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I decided to study abroad for a number of reasons: to boost my resume, to meet relatives still living in Europe, to seek adventure and exploration, to become more independent, and because too many people regret not taking the advantage of Study Abroad programs in college and I was not going to make the same mistake.

What program did you use? Why did you choose your program?

I used Marquette University's Study Abroad program and attended John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. I chose Rome because of my Italian heritage and its rich history, and I chose John Cabot due to its ideal location and diverse student body.

What makes the program you were on so interesting?

The John Cabot program was perfectly located along the Tiber River, which separates Rome's west and east neighborhoods. It sits in a youthful neighborhood called Trastevere among endless bars and restaurants. The people of Trastevere become like family when you spend an entire semester there, especially when you spend every Sunday dinner at your favorite Hostaria. John Cabot is a 10-minute walk south of the Vatican, a 10-minute walk west of Campo de' Fiori and a 30-minute walk from every other major attraction in Rome. You really get to know the ins and outs of the "eternal city" by just aimlessly exploring different cobblestone streets on foot. 

What is the best thing about your program that future participants need to know?

The best thing about John Cabot University is the diverse student body and the relationships formed. Students from all over the world go to John Cabot, broadening the perspectives around you. My classes were taught in English, but were filled with American and Italian students. I met a ton of amazing people and made unforgettable memories around Europe with my new friends. 

What’s one thing you would have done differently?

If I could do the Study Abroad experience again I would have started to save money further in advance. Although I already had money saved in an account, I only started saving pay-checks eight months in advance. A completely immersed Study Abroad experience requires at least a year's worth of fundraising and saving. You want to be able to indulge in every experience, city, meal, and adventure. 

Now that you’re home, how has study abroad impacted your life?

It's incredibly difficult to come home from a place where you have never been more happy in your life. Everyone is right when they say that you experience culture shock when you come home from studying abroad and it will take a while to adjust back into the American routine. Study abroad has opened my eyes and mind to life and the opportunities that exist outside of the United States. It has given me a new-found confidence that I believe is valuable to my future success during college, in the workplace and in relationships. The Study Abroad experience not only produces a greater appreciation for family, but it allows you to clearly see who, in your life, will stick around no matter what the distance.