When I got to Duke I knew that I wanted to participate in Duke in Bologna because I wanted to study Italian when I got to college. In middle and high school I studied Latin, which gave me the opportunity to learn about Ancient Rome, but I really wanted to learn more about modern Italy, and to actually be able to visit Italy.
Going on this trip, I learned a lot about myself in terms of what my boundaries were, and sort of venturing outside of my comfort zone, because it was my first time outside of the country, and one of my first experiences being away from home.
It helped me reframe what I wanted to study at Duke. I came into Duke thinking that I was pre-med and was going to major in bio, but it really helped me shift my perspective towards global health, and looking at the connections between the United States and Italy, in terms of culture. That made me switch over to International Comparative Studies.
I would highly recommend looking into one of the summer programs if you don't feel as though you would be comfortable with a whole semester abroad. I felt like the six weeks was just enough for me to get acclimated to being in a different country. It gave me enough time to explore parts of Italy I always wanted to visit.