How I Chose CEA
Like many college students across the U.S., I knew studying and interning abroad was essential to achieve a well-rounded education. With countless study abroad options available, I needed to be specific in what I wanted to accomplish abroad. I wanted to take classes on ancient Roman History and Culture and participate in an international internship. When I started researching study abroad program offerings, I found these aspects essential to prepare for a future career in international relations.
CEA Study Abroad was the only program that offered me an internship experience in my future professional field, and also offered classes in my academic field of study. Other study abroad options I considered just did not have all the vital features I wanted, while CEA provided me with all of them.
There were several important aspects to my dream study abroad program that I could experience through CEA, which is why I chose the 8-Week Study + Internship program in Rome, Italy. The first essential piece was where I wanted to study, and that has always been Rome. With two years of formal Italian language studies, I was eager to improve my speaking skills in an immersive setting.
The CEA Rome Center is where I took classes in English but also practiced Italian. I got to speak with the CEA staff in Italian, and other locals at restaurants, museums, and other places. I also wanted to study in a city that was home to ancient monuments and sites that I had only read about. Monuments like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum were places I visited and learned about while in class, and I could only experience that kind of in-person learning in Rome.
Now, in my senior year at my home institution, I can apply the High-Impact Practices I learned abroad in my classroom.
Internship Placement Process
Not only did I study and learn about ancient Roman history in Rome in class and on tours, I also interned abroad. The internship placement process was intimidating at first, but the CEA Internship Coaches have placed students in internships for years and know exactly what is best for what you are looking for. They even created a first time international internship crash course with tips and tricks to support you.
After I expressed interest in an internship abroad, I filled out a form that asked me what goals I wanted to accomplish, what skills I wanted to build, and what future career I am working towards. Next, I had a casual interview with my internship coordinator and we talked about what my ideal internship looked like, what fields I wanted to work in, and what skills I could bring to a company. After that, I waited for my placement which happened about a month after I met with my coordinator. I was placed with a nonprofit named Baobab Experience which was perfect since I was most interested in internship programs involving international relations. I remember feeling so excited to have such a unique opportunity that was only possible because of CEA.
Studying and Interning Abroad in Rome
As soon as I got my internship placement, I strategized how to be successful in everything I planned to do. I committed to working 15 hours a week at my internship and enrolled in two classes, Art and Archaeology in Ancient Rome, and an Asynchronous Internship course. These academic commitments, along with my long list of things I wanted to see and places I wanted to go, made it clear that time management was top priority.
I created an up-to-date calendar and schedule that aligned with my internship and classes. When I had assignments, I didn't procrastinate them. This meant I could do the fun things, while also trying hard in coursework and work tasks that I committed to. Because I stayed on top of my workload, I traveled all over Italy, went to nearby beaches, and visited other Italian cities. While I enjoyed planning weekend trips individually, some of my travels were class field trips or excursions included in the overall program cost and planned entirely by CEA.
What I Gained
I truly cannot emphasize enough how much my life has changed because of studying and interning abroad. CEA provided me with unforgettable memories and opportunities. I am so grateful for their help and guidance. I saw monuments and artworks that I had only ever seen in textbooks and spoke a language I spent years learning about.
My internship also allowed me to experience the international professional culture and expand my global network. I gained real-world work experience and met amazing people, ate fantastic food, and toured iconic landmarks and monuments because of this amazing CEA program.
Angelora Castellano is the Summer 2022 Alumni Ambassador in Rome, Italy, and is currently studying at University of Oklahoma.