Samir Lalvani ’13, a Computer Science major and Chemistry minor, jumped at the opportunity to study abroad. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who speaks more enthusiastically of the delights of travelling and studying. A favorite part of his study abroad program included having a hands-on experience.

Samir Lalvani in Italy

 “The biggest advantage studying abroad in Florence was hands on exposure to what you learn inside the classroom. It was fascinating to learn about Perseus in mythology and then see him decapitating Medusa on one of the main squares in Florence and later study Da Vinci’s works and enjoy the mind boggling sights of the ‘Last Supper’ in Milan and the ‘Mona Lisa’ in Paris. My Italian professor always planned visits to libraries, markets, and gelaterias right after learning all the vocabulary in class.”

Returning to Gettysburg, he brought back more than just an enthusiasm for travel:

 “I am definitely more confident in my interpersonal and communication skills after my semester abroad. I’ve been very open and vocal of my experiences which has helped me influence a lot of friends to study abroad and has also been instrumental in securing my internship for this summer! In today’s world, being a global traveler and citizen is of immense value and when these experiences intertwine with the skills from college, it conjures quite a deadly combination of leadership, exploration, learning, and fun!”

The travel bug, however, has certainly not left his system and his plans for his future are certain to incorporate it:

“Before leaving for Florence, I had been to 3 countries. After the semester, it increased to 12! The travels not only taught me how to approach people from different countries and cultures, but also gave me an understanding of myself – that I enjoy traveling and should make it a point to explore at least 5 new places a year. It helps me unwind from the chaos and repetitiveness of my daily routine. There’s a lot to explore in this world, and with every destination I reach, I realize that life has so much to offer!”

Finally, he leaves future study abroad students a word of advice of not only for taking away a great experience but also in having awareness of what you leave behind:

“I would encourage everyone to try build relationships from the inside outwards. Syracuse has its teachers, administrators, and others who work in the campus. It’s fascinating how easily you can bond with them, practice your Italian skills, and even get advice on the best local places not offered by travel guides. It’s not hard; a simple “ciao!” every day can make a surprising difference within a month’s time! And it also leaves a positive legacy for other Gettysburgians in the future.”

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