Transatlantic Connection: Recent grad shares study abroad experience

As I type this article, I am in the middle of a faraway land not many are familiar with. It is called the Republic of Georgia, a land which belonged to the Soviet Union 21 short years ago.

Being behind the former Iron Curtain has been an unreal experience so far. The mountains outside look like the stereotypical image we might have of the Swiss Alps, as the mountains are so lush green with cows grazing in every pasture. One question still puzzles me, and that’s how I found myself here.

Not long ago, I was interested in trying to find some kind of way to get involved in the international community at Gannon University, but didn’t really think about traveling abroad because, given how expensive college is, I doubted I’d have the financial resources.

When I went to the International Student Office, however, they greatly encouraged me to seek out going abroad. Gannon opened the door, and I just walked in. The financial resources were presented to me, and all I really had to do was say yes!

Lo and behold, shortly after this encounter with the International Student Office I found myself in Paris with a start-up tech company, working as a marketing and English consultant.

Today, I find myself working for the Georgian Government, in its Ministry of Education Department. I am tasked with bringing Western values to a part of the world so closed off during the Soviet occupation, as well as educating students in English and of course bringing American goodwill to a village where no American or foreigner has ever lived.

Last week, I made my students pronounce “America is Awesome” on the board. Ever since, kids around the school greet me with “America! Awesome!” I really feel as though I am a part of this developing country’s history in the 21st century as I help them evolve from their traumatic Soviet occupation past into a new generation of Georgians inspired by American values and culture.

In short, what I want to try to impart to you, the Gannon University student, is during your college career, many opportunities are open to you.

Have you ever dreamed of jogging on the Great Wall of China, sipping champagne on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower, or experiencing “Carneval” in Brazil? These are all options that can be available to you.

I recommend we all take an initiative to expand our minds and seek these kinds of opportunities as the world becomes more global and knowledge of the world outside the United States becomes crucial in almost every career field.

Contact the International Student Office, talk to our international students or even contact me if you think that studying abroad or learning more about Gannon’s international community might interest you. I’ll see you all soon!

 

SAM DECAPUA

[email protected]

 

Editor’s note: DeCapua graduated in 2013 with a degree in political science and will be continuing his master’s in the spring.