International Connections

Brittani Koza

Major: Elementary Education

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Illinois

Type of experience: Study Abroad
Experience: Disciplinary Literacy in Rome
Experience website:
Destination: Italy

Overall experience..
My overall experience was nothing but impactful. I learned a lot about myself during this time abroad. I pushed myself to limits I didn't know existed and really learned to be dependent on myself. It was something that I wasn't used to before. I had an opportunity to learn about disciplinary literacy in a different country, absorbing in different cultures as I was being introduced to new topics. Not only that, I was also able to make friends that will last a lifetime. Being with a group of people for close to a month allowed me to really get to know them and become close to them.

I learned...
I learned about this opportunity through my advisor's email.

An impact to my life...
This experience impacted my life in the best way possible. I was able to make long-lasting friends, learned about a subject in education that I didn't even know existed, and learned how to be flexible and be dependent on myself. All of these things I can take with me as a future educator. I can use my knowledge of disciplinary literacy to enhance my students education; I can use the experience I gained with flexibility and incorporate that into my future classroom.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable experience I encountered from this trip was being independent. I went to a new country with only knowing one person. I didn't know my roommates that well in the beginning, but I took that opportunity and used it to my advantage. I made new friends, I learned how to be independent and to go with the flow.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience I had from this was when we took a weekend trip to France. Me and my friends decided it would be fun to go for three days to France, and it was, but there was so much chaos along the way. Our flights back home got canceled because of strikes, and our Airbnb fell through, so we had to do quick thinking and figure everything out. It was stressful but turned out to be the most fun because I was with all my friends.

A surprising discovery...
Something I didn't expect was the structure of schooling in Italy. I had the opportunity to go into a primary and secondary school and observe the way education is presented. It was so eye opening for me because it was something that I had never experienced before. I took away notes that I will incorporate into my own classroom one day.

Advice for others...
My advice for other students is to do it. I know it can be a lot of money, and it can be scary because you may not know people or have never left the country before, but you need to do it. The best things happen once you step out of your comfort zone, and I genuinely learned that from my own experiences. You learn so much about yourself, about others, and about different cultures. You get to experience and appreciate different ways of life.

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