The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Jessica Criollo

Hi everybody! I'm Jessica and I am currently majoring in Public Relations and Advertising and minoring in Marketing. As a junior at Loyola, I have continued to uphold my friendly and outgoing spirit. I love visiting new places (hence the reason why I am studying abroad) and find joy in exploring new things! I have lived in Chicago my whole life, so I am excited to have the opportunity to explore a different culture and step out of my comfort zone. I am looking forward to meet new people and try new food, but I am mostly enthusiastic to see how I personally develop with this new experience!
22 Days Left

22 Days Left

It’s crazy to think how much time has flown by. I feel like I haven’t done a lot during my time here. However, I have. I have had the great opportunity to travel all over Europe, which I thought would be impossible as a low-income and first-generation student. Yes, money gets tight. But there is nothing that budgeting can’t help you with right? I have learned SO much during my time here and I want to share with you what I have learned so far.

  1. GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE: I know it can be extremely hard to talk to people you don’t know, but this is the time to get comfortable. if you end up having an awkward encounter it doesn’t matter. You will likely not see those people after your semester here either way. My own personal example is when I met up with a random classmate in the bus stop. We were both going towards the same direction. Instead of dispersing right away, we decided to explore together. If I didn’t decide to do that, I would have never been able to visit Castel Sant’Angelo. One of Rome’s most famous castles. Take on an adventure with someone you normally wouldn’t. It could be worth your time.
  2. CREATE TIME FOR SCHOOL: There is always plans when you are studying abroad. It can be hard to catch up on the stuff you want to and need to do. You must remember that you are here to study. I have found myself slacking with schoolwork when back at home I would be on top of it. Make yourself a schedule and make sure to follow it. Don’t get distracted by social media or watch Netflix. Sit down and reflect on what you need to do and get it done. Preferably, without people around you. This will lead you to concentrate more with fewer distractions.
  3. MAKE SURE TO TRAVEL IN THE DATE OF YOUR CORRESPONDED TICKET: I recently went with Venice and I misread the date I was supposed to go. I don’t know how it happened but it did. It was super stressful at first because I thought I was going to get caught. At the beginning I didn’t. I was calm and cozy and was even able to take a map. On the way back though, it was a mess. I needed to show my ticket because a couple came in claiming it was their seat. I had to go talk to one of the workers and he offered me options since technically I was not on the right train. First off all, he was extremely rude. I explained the situation and he completely shut me off. He made it seem like I was lying to him when I wasn’t. On the way to Venice, one of the workers said it was fine that I was on the train because there was something wrong in the system. At this point, I knew I had gotten lucky. All in all, make sure you do everything you need to do before boarding your train. Including going on the right date
  4. DON’T LET YOUR EDUCATION GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE: It may not make sense since you are here to study abroad, but think of it this way. You are here studying abroad in a whole different culture and environment. Instead of solely focusing on your classes and staying in the library, make sure to go outside and interact with locals. Increase the knowledge of the place you are studying in. Become more interactive and informed of the ways to navigate yourself around the city. Don’t stay stuck to your books. I know it’s important, but there are ways you can do both. Instead of staying in to study, go to a café to study. Get the cultural experience while you are studying abroad. Make it worth it.

There are so many things studying abroad has taught me and I can definitely say it has transformed me as a person. I feel more comfortable interacting with people I don’t know and I feel like I can navigate things more independently now. I had a lot of easy  accessibility to the things I needed back at home, such as money, food, and comfort. Studying here I don’t have all of that, but I have learned to manage random obstacles and even overcome them. I am still in the learning process though. There is always room to learn right? I am going to make the best out of these 22 days left and learn as much as I can, but also have fun! I’m excited and sad at the same time to leave. But hey, it’s been a good run so far!

Here are some of the places I have visited so far!



Jessica Criollo

Stu-dying Abroad

Stu-dying Abroad

I think one of the things I didn’t expect coming here is to actually study. I always heard people saying that they literally didn’t do anything during their study abroad trips. They mentioned the amount of times they’ve traveled all over the world, the amount of times they went out to clubs, the variety of restaurants they went to visit during their study abroad trip, and so on. How many times did they mention they were studying or maybe stressing out a tad bit because of school? Zero. Well folks, I myself was fooled by these stories. I don’t know what these people were talking about, but there definitely is some studying and even some stress involved while you’re in your program. For me, it’s particularly my Italian class. Which I should be studying for, but here I am writing this instead *face palm*.

So, what’s the point of this blog post? Make your own experiences.

Let me be fair, these people I mentioned may have decided to take less classes and be less involved on campus, leading them to have a lighter workload overall. However, let me speak for myself and the experience I have had with the amount of homework I have had so far. I am taking 5 classes this semester, which totals to the amount of 15 credits. I am taking classes that fulfill my graduation requirements such as Literature, Science, and Art. You may be thinking, “What’s so hard about that?”. Well, I had to finish a whole novel for my literature class in a span of 4 days, write a 5 page paper for my science class, and also create a sculpture from scratch for my art class. Oh and top of that, I’m working two jobs. One here in the John Felice Rome Center and one back at home in a mobile manner. Oh! I forgot to mention another thing! I also decided to get involved with Student Activities Committee and now I’m in charge of planning events. Yikes.

I mean it is called studying abroad for a reason right? Don’t worry. I’m here to tell you that regardless if you have a crazy schedule like mine, YOU CAN STILL HAVE FUN. It’s already Week 3 and I feel like I’ve done so much. Yes, there’s homework to be done but as long as you manage your time wisely then you should be good (or how Italians say it, molto bene, which means very good!)

I was getting a little overwhelmed with the workload I was getting in the beginning and was worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the study abroad experience like the people I have talked to. But I learned that I have to make the most out of my time. What did I do? I started scheduling times when I wanted to go out. I have a 1PM class, so instead of sleeping in until the class started, I would push myself to wake up bright and early. I actually did my first walk this Monday. I got to know my neighborhood and campus so well and finally got to try a local cafe shop by campus. Have a 4 hour gap between classes? Have a Wednesday off? GO OUT. I did that and I was able to discover one of my favorite bakery spots! Again, just make the most out of your time. Don’t stay in your rooms and don’t get distracted by what’s going on online. That brings me to my second point.

Again, how do I still have fun with a busy schedule? Well first of all, stay off your phone. So much time is wasted using your phone and it’s honestly not even worth it. Yeah you need to talk to your family and your friends back at home, I get that. But it’s a 7 hour difference from Europe to the United States. They won’t even be up during school hours. Finish everything you have to finish and then take some time to actually enjoy your surroundings. Plan trips, make friends, read a book, take a walk in the neighborhood. Just do something productive. Once you have done all of that, then that’s when you can use your phone to catch up with your family and friends. If they truly care about you, they’ll understand why you’re not available on your phone as much as before. You are abroad for a reason. To explore and study. Not to be on your phone.

To make the most out of your experiences, you especially have to not worry about other people’s schedules. Don’t focus on your friend’s schedules being free and yours not. Your schedule is probably busy for a good reason. Even if it’s not, so what? Take this as an experience so you can learn how to become more responsible and manage your time wisely! Be positive and look forward to the things you CAN do while you’re here and honestly just be happy that you got the chance to study abroad in the first place!

Whatever it may be, make your own experiences. It doesn’t matter if others got to go to clubs every day and travel halfway around the world. Their experiences are different from yours. If you do it right, you can make your time here so memorable and have the time of your life. Have fun while you’re here, but also study because you are studying abroad after all.

Until next time! Arrivederci 🙂

P.S Here’s some of the memories I’ve made so far even with my crazy schedule!

From Home to Rome

From Home to Rome

It’s been a crazy couple of days already. Well it’s actually only been 5 days. Throughout my time here, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned that snacks in airports are crazy expensive. I’ve learned that having a 9-hour flight can suck. I’ve learned that it is possible to get the stomach flu within the first two days abroad ANDD…I’ve technically learned a lot of things. Fun right?

There’s a lot you can expect when studying abroad but you are never truly prepared for it until you make it to your destination. So for those who are curious or want to know what one may go through when studying abroad, let me give you a recap of what I’ve gone through so far.

The first day was hectic and emotional because not only did I not know what to expect, but I was also not ready to say goodbye to my family, friends, and loved ones. It didn’t hit me that I was going to leave all of them for such a long until my final week at home. It was harder because I have never been away from home. Ever. So to study abroad in Rome, somewhere far far away, was a huge step. I started counting down the days and hours until I left and I was honestly dreading the little amount of time I had left. It wasn’t something I was used to.

So if you plan to study abroad, but you have never been away from home, expect to feel like this. Don’t worry though. That feeling will go away with all the great adventures and long walks you go on (literally). I only knew one person in my program, but with all of the outings I’ve had I’ve been able to make a good group of friends. Don’t be shy and, especially, don’t be sad to be away from home. Go head first and embark yourself in this incredible journey you are in!

Another thing…packing is hard. I literally wear a different set of clothes everyday, so to limit myself to only a suitcase and carry-on for my study abroad trip was a struggle. Right now, I still miss my clothes at home. Packing was hard because you literally want to bring everything, but also because you feel like you are leaving a part of you behind (not to be cheesy). Don’t panic! You will have tons of opportunities to buy stuff over there for a cheaper price and better quality. Also, you will have the opportunity to discover a new you through all the experiences you go through, which may include a new fashion style!

Don’t overpack, but also don’t underpack. Currently, I’ve been wearing the same yoga pants for 4 days because I only brought two pairs (sad times). Also, start packing ahead of time because you’re going to need all the time to weight your suitcases and triple check the clothes you bring. I know somebody here who actually forgot to bring their pajamas. Oh! Leave the heels at home. There is way too many hills and rocks for you to be able to efficiently walk in those.

Once I got through the struggle of packing and dealing with my feeling, I was able to start enjoying my journey. The very first day I got here I went to eat gelato and visit the Trevi Fountain. It was amazing! It didn’t feel like I was in Rome until that moment. It was great and I was low-key having a Lizzie McGuire moment when I threw my coin in the Trevi Fountain.

In that moment, I knew I’d enjoy my three to four months here. I was obviously going to miss home and everybody that was there. I was going to miss my mom’s food, my dog, the Chicago skyline, and everything about home. However, I knew that great experiences would be formed here. After going through so many orientation sessions and making some new friends, I am ready to start off school. I am ready to take on new challenges in a new country, surround myself in a different culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

For those of you who are reading this and are thinking about studying abroad…DO IT. Even if it is just a winter or summer term. It will be worth it. For those of you who are reading this for funsies or because you were curious…well now you know what I’ve gone through so far. It’s been a rollercoaster full of emotions, but in between all of that, memories have been made already.

I hope to make even more memories so I can continue updating you, but for now CIAO!

P.S: Here’s a picture of me finally visiting the Colosseum 🙂