This is our sixth post in our monthly Q&A session with “international students turned peerTransfer employees.” Feel free to visit here for last month’s post.
Today, we’re interviewing Ellen Mangiaratti, who works in our marketing department and is originally from the United States. While she currently spends much of her time working hard and running marathons, she spent her junior year in the London. Here’s her story:
Where did you study and why?
I studied in London because I wanted to be somewhere in Europe that was an easy location to travel from. I knew that if I went to Europe I would want to go to as many countries as possible and being close to Heathrow airport made it easy to travel. Also, I was nervous about the potential language barrier in other countries, and wanted to go somewhere that spoke English as I hadn’t studied a language in years.
Why did you decide to study abroad?
When I was a freshman in college I visited my sister who was studying abroad in Florence. I thought it was so cool how she had the opportunity to live a different lifestyle so decided I would do the same. Also, my mother was always a big advocate of it and strongly encouraged me to study in another country.
What was the best or most rewarding aspect of this experience?
There were a lot of amazing aspects of the experience. My school had students from all over the world so just having a conversation with them was a lot of fun and taught me a lot about different cultures. I loved seeing a different country every weekend and realizing how different the world is from what I had known in New England.
What was the toughest part of studying abroad?
It was hard not having things in my daily life that I was used to having.. for instance a
fridge.. I was fine without a television but I really like cold water! It was also tough not being able to eat the foods I am used to eating or having a gym to go to, etc. Luckily, with email it was very easy to stay in touch with my friends and family at home.
What was the craziest/funniest moment you experienced during your stay abroad?
Hmm.. most of these stories probably aren’t appropriate to share .. One time we were staying at a tiny hotel in Dublin and they had a strict 2 person only rule for each room (and of course we had very little money so we had 5 people staying in one room). So every time we wanted to come back to our room, two of us had to distract the inn keeper while the other three climbed through the window. That was funny every single time.
Did this experience change somehow your outlook on life?
Yes, it totally opened my eyes to life outside New England! I never understood the thrill in traveling until I tried it. The more I saw and learned, the more I wanted to see and learn. I realized how different and interesting the rest of the world is and how much I had been missing out on.
Do you think that studying abroad has had some positive impact on your professional development and career opportunities?
Absolutely. The self confidence that I gained from that trip was invaluable. Before I left for London, I was nervous to call and order a pizza. Then, a few month later I’m wandering around the Czech Republic on my own and figuring out how to communicate and get from one place to another. I realized I am capable of much more.