Danielle explored her grandfather's birthplace and met
long lost relatives on the Semester in Rome program.
Major: Legal Studies
Global Studies Program: Rome Semester
What is your background?
I am Italian and German. My parents were born in America but my
grandfather was born in Italy.
Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised on Long Island but I lived in the
dormitories my first two years at St. John’s University.
Why did you decide to study abroad?
When I first decided to look into studying abroad, I started
talking to people I knew on campus who had done the programs before
and everything I heard from them was positive and
encouraging. I decided that spending the semester in another
country was something I could not pass up! Opportunities like
study abroad programs really are once in a lifetime! Maybe I
would have been able to visit Italy in the future, but when do you
actually have the chance to live in a foreign country for four
months, studying and learning firsthand about the culture?
When I sat down and talked with my parents about this program, they
were a little hesitant about letting me go, but it was something
that was important to me - we decided together that I should seize
What appealed to you about the particular program
I decided on the Rome semester program because I really liked
the fact that St. John’s has its own campus in Rome! I’m sure
the other programs are just as amazing but to me it was important
that I knew everything was going to be set up the same way it would
be at home. I also decided Rome was the best choice because
my grandfather was born about two hours away, and still has family
there to this day. The chance to meet family that I would
never know otherwise was something that really drove me to this
program as well. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and it was the
best choice for me.
What did you like best about studying
My favorite part of studying abroad was of course the amazing
experiences. I met so many interesting and wonderful
people. Not only did I learn about another culture and meet
many new and exciting people along the way, I also made new friends
that I experienced everything with. We had the opportunity to
travel within Italy but also to many different parts of Europe on
our weekends off from school. It was by far the best
experience of my life thus far and will always be something that I
What was your most memorable experience?
The experience as a whole was my most memorable
experience! I could not have asked for anything more than
what I got. This was the most exhilarating experience a
person could ever dream of.
How has the study abroad experience affected you now
that you are back in New York?
Study abroad changes you as a person. No matter who you
are or why you go, there is something about a study abroad
experience that changes your outlook on life. You get the
chance to learn about so many cultures besides your own and
experience their way of life firsthand. It really opens your
eyes to world events and makes you a stronger, more independent
person. When I first came home all I talked about was study abroad
and how different everything is. To this day, I am still
trying to learn from my experiences and educate myself about what
is going on in the world. I still talk about my experiences,
and I always encourage other students to take advantage of any
opportunity they get in life to do something incredible like study
abroad. My relationship with my grandparents has grown stronger
since I’ve been home, because I shared something with my
grandfather that no one else in the family has shared. I met
people in his family he grew up with as a child and that is
something that will stand out in my mind forever.
Would you recommend studying abroad to a
I would recommend studying abroad to anyone and everyone.
It is something that I think everyone should get an opportunity to
experience. It is life changing and probably the most amazing
experience of a person’s lifetime.
What plans do you have once you graduate?
I plan to attend law school and get my master’s degree.