Nicole Shen, Class of 2023

Major and Minor:

Biological Sciences | Psychology and Art HistoryNicole Shen 2

Program and Location:

John Cabot University, Art History | Rome, Italy

What inspired you to study abroad?

Coming into college, the one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to study abroad. I’ve always wanted to experience the world as much as possible, and it’s often hard to get a genuine feel of a place from only a week or ten days as a tourist. Having the opportunity to be so integrated within a city and live there for a semester is something that really appealed to me, as I feel like I’ve been able to explore a more authentic Rome. Furthermore, it’s scary moving to a new place, let alone a new country. Having the structure and resources of a university really allowed me to get adjusted easily and begin to take full advantage of my time here.

What was your favorite experience abroad?

There have been so many! By far, my favorite experience abroad has been the independence and ability to travel. I’m lucky enough to be based in Europe, where I have visited a new country or city every weekend! I have been able to see so much of Europe that I never would have otherwise, and it’s definitely deepened my passion for traveling. Besides that, it’s been all the people that I’ve met. I have met so many people from different countries and cultures and become close friends with so many interesting people with backgrounds very different to mine.

How did your experience abroad add to your academic journey at Rutgers?

My experience abroad has really broadened my academic journey at Rutgers. I discovered I was really interested in Art History, and the classes in Rome are perfect for me! They don’t take place in the classroom, instead meeting on historical sites and museums such as the Colosseum or the Roman Forum to discuss and learn. It’s allowed me to have a more well-rounded academic journey overall.

What advice would you offer to DLS students who are interested in studying abroad?

Plan well and go for it! It’s definitely a lot more feasible than you think. There are so many programs to choose from and a lot of fascinating courses you would never get to experience otherwise. It’s easy to get caught up in your responsibilities at home, but everyone I have talked to about my studying abroad (PIs, club e-boards, etc) have all been unequivocally supportive. Definitely plan out your course schedules and reach out to academic advisors (I bombarded mine with emails!) as that will make the whole process less nerve wracking. And finally, if you’re on the fence about going, just do it! It has been the most rewarding and unique experience of my life.

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