Ryan Barner - 2013 Program Participant

Excited for touristy pictures during study abroad in Spain

Ryan in one of the many plazas in Spain Photo By: Ryan Barner

What inspired you to study abroad?

I wanted to travel the world, get a break from Los Angeles, a place I was born and raised all my life. I wanted to become more independent and get a break from the rigor of my regular University's courses.

Why did you decide on Milan?

I studied Italian for three semesters, and Milan is the center for Italy's economy and I got my Bachelor's in economics.

What was your favorite part about he city?

The ease of the subway system and fashion scene.

What makes the IES program unique?

The administration was very hands on but not overbearing. The opportunity to have an internship and take graduate courses added to the value of the program as well. The field trips the program organized were also some of my favorite experiences from my trip.

How helpful were the local staff in Milan?

They always provided extra resources for experiencing the culture, extra emergency contacts, alternate routes, coupons, and free activities. They were a great source of information and dedicated individual attention. Plus they ALL knew our names, every single one of us even before arriving on the premises.

Looking back on your time in Milan, what's one thing you’d have done differently?

I wish I would have ignored the cold and explored more even in the harsh weather conditions. I also wish I would have visited non-traditional locations on my weekend trips; instead of the obvious Paris, London, and Barcelona I wish I could have visited Cognac or Mykonos or areas of Croatia.

What were some highlights from a typical day in your program? 

Breakfast from my host parents, jump on the bus, get to class, go through classes, grab lunch in the area, group study after classes, dinner with my host family then hang with my classmates.

What was your favorite activity outside of the study portion of the program?

My favorite activity was traveling on the weekends. A new experience or country to look forward to every weekend always gave me something to look forward to.

What did you like most about your housing situation?

I loved my homestay family. I still talk to the members of my family over a year after the program's end. Meals were great and they included me in family activities like their own weekend trips. We laughed, cried, ate, did everything together. They will ALWAYS be a part of my life and success story and I am forever in debt to them. I loved having a family away from the family that raised me.

Do you feel like your study abroad program has left a lasting impact on you?

Everyday. Thought process. Future aspirations. Etc. Any description I give will dumb down exactly how study abroad changed my life. I am forever grateful for this experience. A gift that keeps on giving.