Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Drew Marlier is a senior studying business administration and marketing at the University of Iowa. As a student blog ambassador for CIMBA, he will be writing about his experiences on his program in Italy.

By Drew Marlier



Drew and his friends at Kinnick Stadium

“Dude, you’re a senior. Why are you studying abroad?”

Okay, I haven’t actually been asked this question by another human being, but I have contemplated it on numerous occasions. Now, have I answered this question to myself? Yes. Yes I have.

And, lucky for you guys, I’m serving as a blog ambassador for CIMBA Italy this semester and can answer this question with several anecdotes and a slight hint of sarcasm. So, let’s begin this blogging adventure, shall we?

I’m assuming every single student who has contemplated going abroad has experienced doubts. Honestly, I’ve had several doubts myself. I mean, it is a huge decision. Being away from your family and friends for an extended amount of time. Going to an unfamiliar country with complete strangers. I get it and I think every student experiences this doubt.

I’ll go ahead and start this article with the doubts I have encountered.

As of writing this, I just came off an amazing weekend in Iowa City. Kinnick Stadium was rocking with the Hawkeye’s dominating victory. The weather was perfect. The bars were packed. I hung out with my best friends in the world. It was perfect. Just perfect**.

**Okay, not everything was perfect. You see that fingerprint on that awesome picture of me and my buddies at Kinnick Stadium? Yeah, that wasn’t perfect. C’mon, bro. You had one job. One freakin’ job. Anyway, aside from that, everything else was perfect. I apologize for the rant. You may now carry on with this blog post. 

On my air condition-less drive back to my hometown I thought: Why am I leaving all of this? Why am I replacing my friends for total strangers? Why am I leaving a familiar city for one I’ve only seen in pictures?


With my suitcase, plane ticket, and passport in hand, I’m gearing up for this Italian journey.

Honestly, with all the reasons I came up with, I should’ve decided not to go. 

I only have one year left of college. Iowa City is my favorite city in the world. I’m going to miss football season. Studying abroad is very expensive. I’ll be away from my best friends and family for an entire semester.

Yes, I get it … but I then think of one of the biggest reasons I’m going abroad.

When else would I be able to do this?

As a student, we are granted so much flexibility. Students are allowed to take semester or even a year to travel the world and study. When students graduate and find full-time employment, that flexibility goes out the window. Employees are only granted so much paid time off, and taking three months off to travel isn’t an option.

As a student, the option is there, and I’m taking full advantage of it.

I remember a teacher inviting a CIMBA ambassador to speak about the program to our class. Yes, this occurrence has happened on several occasions, and, honestly, I don’t remember most of the speech, but I do remember what my professor commented following the presentation.

“If you can fit studying abroad in your schedule, do it. It’s something that you’ll never forget. Your friends, Iowa City will be here when you come back. Don’t worry about that.”

So, I’ve decided to go, and I’m not looking back.

I now stare blankly into a the tornado of clothing I call my room, and I embark on my journey to cram my life into a suitcase for three months. Will I survive this journey? Most likely. Will it be painful? You can bet on that. 

With my suitcase, plane ticket, and passport in hand, I’m gearing up for this Italian journey.

I’m ready, Italy. Let’s do this thing.