My mother had instilled in me the importance of going to college to get a degree since I was a child. She also told me that an education in a classroom would only get me halfway, and that I would have to be educated in life as well.
I never knew the importance of that until I got to college.
College hasn’t been easy for me, so I turned to my mother for guidance. She said, “Andrew, you need to challenge yourself in order to grow and mature not only as a student, but also as a person. Don’t waste your education. Let it take you where you need to go and beyond.”
I knew that the best way to challenge myself was to study abroad.
Studying abroad in Rome brought me closer to my dream of being able to explore and see all that the world has to offer. It allowed me to broaden my horizons and travel to places I could only imagine.
Studying abroad helped me, a Bronx boy, to see, realize and truly believe that life offers more than a noisy and crowded neighborhood, more than people not living up to their full potential, more than being surrounded by crime. This opportunity was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience something that most people only dream of.
Studying abroad culturally enriched me by giving me the chance to live and socialize with people from another culture. It also allowed me to absorb and learn all that I could about their lifestyle and society. Classes in Italian, ancient Greek and Roman mythology and the history of the Italian Mafia have educated me in the classroom and also in life.
I was the first member of my family to study abroad, and my peers look up to me. I will always cherish my memories of studying abroad.
Andrew Taylor is a senior at St. John Fisher College (sjfc.edu) in Rochester, N.Y. He studied abroad in Rome in spring 2008.