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UA students talk about their study abroad experiences

Audrey+Fitzgerald+stands+for+a+photo+in+Rome%2C+Italy+during+her+study+abroad+during+the+2022+fall+semester.+%28Courtesy+of+Audrey+Fitzgerald.%29

Audrey Fitzgerald stands for a photo in Rome, Italy during her study abroad during the 2022 fall semester. (Courtesy of Audrey Fitzgerald.)

While studying abroad typically takes months of planning, several University of Arizona students say the process isn’t as daunting as you might think.

“Study abroad; I honestly can’t even put into words because it was so life-changing,” said Keeli Putnam, a junior studying public health at the University of Arizona.  

Putnam, along with junior Audrey Fitzgerald and senior Ariana Villegas, spent the fall 2022 semester living and studying abroad at The American University of Rome in Rome, Italy, through the UA Rome abroad program.  

“Being and living abroad was the most eye-opening experience of my life,” Fitzgerald said.

They had the chance to travel throughout Europe, and Putnam and Fitzgerald even went to Morocco. 

They studied among study-abroad students from all over the United States, as well as resident students at AUR from a variety of countries. 

They credit the UA global abroad programs for creating a seamless experience for them, like organizing logistics such as visas, housing and transfer credits. 

“UA study abroad has amazing resources like fairs, advisors and many programs that could work for anyone in any major,” Putnam said.  

For those who may feel like studying abroad can be an expensive experience, the study abroad department works hard to make it accessible.

The Gilman Scholarship has helped fund 38,000 students’ study abroad experiences since its creation in 2001. 

“Applying for the Gilman Scholarship was quite easy as there are a lot of sources that can help you […] any mistake on my application I was able to email them and correct it,” Villegas said. 

UA study abroad advisors also hold financial aid workshops to help students in the application process. 

“The Gilman Scholarship helped me a lot financially as my whole tuition was paid, and I only had to worry about personal expenses,” Villegas said. 

Going abroad is a unique experience that can happen during college. Being able to study and live abroad and be with like-minded individuals was a shaping experience for these students.

“I can’t even explain what it was fully like; it was so crazy to have so many different experiences every day,” Putnam said. 

Advice from these students was to reach out if any programs spoke to you. There are on-campus resources to help every student succeed and be able to go abroad. 

“Do it. It’s life-changing and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Fitzgerald said. 


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