O’Neill student Bianca Foronda reflected on her experience during the Bavaria + Lombardia program last summer in this Q&A.
Foronda, a double major in Law and Public Policy and Public Management and Leadership, with a minor in Spanish, is the President and founder of the Latinx Law Student Association Pre Law-Division, and Vice President of Phi Alpha Delta. Additionally, she has lived in nine cities, traveled to 10 countries, and had a coyote as a pet at one point in her life.
Interested in studying abroad in summer 2023? Applications close January 27.
Q: What attracted you to the Bavaria summer program?
FORONDA: I was attracted to the Bavaria summer program because of the duality of the entire program. I loved the fact that we would be experiencing two different countries being Germany and Italy. I had visited both countries before, but never visited those exact towns in the country. I would have never thought about visiting those parts until I was thinking about this program either. I ended up completely falling in love with every part of the countries we visited. I also loved the fact that the students participating in the program weren’t just students coming from IU, but German students, and Italian students all together. No other program that I was looking into had any other collaboration like this except this one. I believe that is what led me to end up choosing this specific program, and I am so glad I did! I made life-long friendships with people all over the world that I would have otherwise never been able to make.
Q: What advice would you give students who are hesitant about studying abroad?
FORONDA: The number one piece of advice I would give to any student hesitant about studying abroad is to just go for it! The idea about going to a completely different country alone may be daunting, but this program, the people, and layout made me feel so safe with every step of the way. I would make sure you have done some research about the country you’re visiting too. Look into the time of year you’ll be visiting (for weather purposes), customs of their people, dietary options, costs of the programs, what is included/not, etc… Research alone can make you feel at ease when thinking about traveling to a new place. I would also advise you to choose something out of your comfort zone. I know that is out of the normal advice given but you truly never know unless you try, and you can never grow unless you are challenging yourself. What better way to do that than stepping out of that zone, submerging yourself in a different culture, and making those connections to some amazing people you probably would have never come across without the help of the program!
Q: How has studying abroad benefitted you personally?
FORONDA: Studying abroad had an impact in almost every aspect of my life. It benefited in the connections I made, sites I was able to experience, the friendships I made, and more. I have gotten closer to the friends I made abroad extending past just undergrad. I have also been able to pull those personal experiences made on the trip to real-world scenarios, in-class discussions, and to even reflect on my resume. It has allowed me to gain a broader perspective in the day-to-day lives of people from different parts of the world as well. I’ll always cherish the memories I made while abroad. Whether that be with the students, faculty, and the parts of the world I would have never stepped foot in otherwise.
Q: What is your favorite memory, story, or experience while studying abroad in Bavaria?
FORONDA: I made so many lasting memories over the course of the program, but I think my favorite memory of the entire program would have to be the last day… ironically. On the last day of the program, we had our final presentations, had our farewell dinner, and celebrated our last night out together. We had been working on our presentations the whole duration of the program and to finally see them come about was so fun and fulfilling. Not only seeing your group’s hard work pay off, but also getting to see all the other presentations was fun! During our break between presentations, we went out to eat at one of the best pizza spots in Bergamo, Italy. After all the presentations wrapped up, we had our awards ceremony, and we all met out for our farewell dinner which was in the heart of that area. We all spent time recalling our favorite times together, laughing, and eating a 5-course meal that was so amazing. After the dinner we all spent time together cherishing the times we had with the international students before returning home. Although it was sad to say goodbye, I had such a fun time wrapping things up and really soaking in the moments together!