A Day in the Life of a Study Abroad Student

USAC student, Carin Dorghalli, from California State University, Chico studied abroad in Viterbo, Italy for a summer session. Carin is a Media Arts and Journalism major and had the great opportunity to be published in the online Italian publication, TusciaUp. You can read what she had to say below, or check out the original here.

Carin Dorghalli

LIFE/Carin Dorghalli: A Day in the Life of a Study Abroad Student

 di Carin Dorghalli Photo By Mark Zhu

Hypothetically, if you are enrolled in nearly every class USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) offers in Viterbo, your day might look a little something like this:

After learning the history of a medieval town in your Italian Hill Towns class, you’ll go on a field trip to that town. You’ll climb to the top of its defensive wall, examine the rocks used to build the structure, use your findings to predict the time period when it was built, and study the changes it went through over time.

After staring at paintings in a textbook in one of your art history classes, you’ll have the opportunity to go to Rome to see the precious works of art that your textbook can only describe in so much detail. Seeing the sculptures, mosaics, and frescoes in real life will enhance your learning experience far more than seeing the art through a lecture hall projector.

 You’ll learn how to speak Italian in one of your language courses, but that’s not all. You’ll actually get to put your skills into practice by conversing with the locals of the Italian cities you go on field trips to.

 Along the way, your Travel Photography and Travel Writing classes will teach you beneficial ways to record your experience abroad. You can set yourself up for great moments of nostalgia in the future when you’re reminiscing on your time abroad by looking at your photographs and writings from those classes.

 What better way to finish off a long day of classes than by having a family dinner with your classmates in your Italian Cuisine class? In that class, you’ll learn how to cook authentic Italian meals from scratch. It is truly a joy to finish your day with pasta, spaghetti, and lasagna while reflecting on the beauty of the towns you visited, discussing works of art with your peers, speaking Italian with your cooking teacher, and taking pictures of your tasty accomplishments for your photography class.

This hypothetical description of a day in the life of a study abroad student is simply to say that through USAC, you truly get to “learn without borders.”  Rather than being stuck in a classroom, you get to take field trips to places where you can actively participate in and gaze upon what is taught in class. As a student in this program, I can truly say that the interactive nature of my classes has broadened my understanding of the world around me. The day in the life of a study abroad student is remarkable.


Thanks for the kind words Carin! We’re glad you’ve enjoyed your studies in Viterbo and congratulations on your published article!