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Maddy Baker

Senior, Graphic Design

From: West Des Moines, Iowa

Study abroad semester: Fall 2016 (August – December)

Location: College of Design Rome Program, Rome, Italy


Why did you decide to study abroad?

I always wanted to study abroad before I even came to college. I hoped to learn about a different culture, explore different countries and meet new people from all over.


What courses did you take in Rome and what other activities did you participate in?

I took Corporate Graphic Design, Advanced Typography, Painting, Art History and Italian Culture. I took almost every weekend to travel to a different country and experience a new place/culture.


What were the most important things you learned?

The most important things I learned were life lessons. I learned life is too short to spend it in one place, that you really don’t have confidence until you’re stuck all alone and can’t communicate with anyone around you, that you can literally do anything with your life because the opportunities are endless in this world. I met people who were cave guides in Budapest, world travelers from Australia, student guides for Bus2Alps, yacht guides in Capri, history professors in Rome and so much more. It gave me confidence to go after my dreams and not feel restricted to my hometown and lifestyle.


What were some of the highlights of your experience?

Traveling to different countries and becoming a family with the people I was with. Learning to love Rome and the culture there. Looking out over the city one last time and realizing that a place where I once felt out of place somehow felt like a home I was leaving forever.


Did studying abroad help influence the career you’re interested in?

It made me want to get a job like teaching that involves more social interaction, or to work festivals that involve more fun and enjoyment than sitting at a corporate cubicle. That’s what I thought I should do, but going abroad opens your mind to what you really love and made me realize any career is possible.


What advice would you give other students who are considering studying abroad?

Do it. Do it. Do it. Save up your money and use it to explore the world. The best way to learn about life is to experience how other people live it and to broaden your mind. Don’t stay in one place. Throw all your rules out the window. Don’t like seafood? Eat it. Don’t like heights? Go paragliding. See as much as you possibly can, and go into it with an open mind. The pictures won’t ever explain how you feel there. It’s normal life, just somewhere else. It stretches your mind and challenges your perspective on what you value in life.

February 3, 2017 4:46 pm

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