Acayla Wray: My Study Abroad Semester in Rome

girl standing in front of water

In our “Semester in Rome” series, students in the St. John’s University study abroad program share their life-changing experiences, focusing on how the program has impacted their personal growth and paved the way for a bright and promising future.

About Acayla Wray's journey: 

Acayla Wray is a St. John’s sophomore working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and Teaching at The School of Education. She currently studies on the University’s Rome, Italy, campus and teaches children at a public elementary school. Acayla is passionate about motivating students to be future leaders.

Q: What inspired you to join St. John’s study abroad program? 

I heard nothing but good things about the study abroad program. It was highly recommended.

Q: How has studying abroad helped you explore your interests in education? 

Studying aboard has made me realize students learn differently and has challenged me to learn new ways to teach.  

young girl teaching class

Q: Can you describe your role as a public elementary school teacher in Italy? How does this role impact your future goals? 

For the first several weeks, I observed how the classroom runs and was able to learn ways to conduct my lessons and assess students’ behavior. Most recently, I have been solo teaching and executing full lesson plans. All these experiences have provided me with new ways to be efficient and effective in teaching.

Q: What is your favorite nonclassroom experience(s) so far while abroad? 

My favorite part about the program is Rome itself. I have always loved the heartbeat of any city, and Rome is no different. Everything from the walkable distance to the easy-to-use public transportation to the food and fashion has been wonderful to experience.  

Q: How do you believe studying abroad has impacted your personal growth and development? 

I lived on the Queens, NY, campus for the past few semesters, so I’ve been through many personal growth spurts. However, studying abroad has provided me with a whole new level of personal growth. Not only are you immersed in a new culture and way of living, but you also figure out new traits about yourself. For me, studying abroad has strengthened my personal development, especially when it comes to my communication and “adulting” skills.  

Q: Why would you recommend the St. John’s study abroad program to another student?

Living and learning in Rome through the St. John’s program has been an incredible, one-of-a-kind experience!   

Explore the world with St. John’s University.

Johnnies in Rome pose for a photo with St. John's banner

Imagine immersing yourself in a new and exciting culture, learning a new language, and gaining valuable experience while earning college credits. You can do just that with St. John’s University’s global program! This program is an extraordinary opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and explore the world meaningfully. Participating in this program allows you to experience a completely different way of life, meet new people, and gain a deeper appreciation of cultural diversity.

Learn more about the St. John's study abroad program