Student reflections on race and ethnicity: multicultural upbringing an added bonus for travel

Stephanie Cuddalore Priya is a University of Iowa junior studying accounting at the UI Tippie College of Business. As the child of two foreign-born immigrants, one from Mexico and one from India, Stephanie has been shaped by several cultures. This spring, Stephanie was a 2015 recipient of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship for Study Abroad which she applied toward a semester-long program with CIMBA in Paderno Del Grappa, Italy. The following is a reflection by Stephanie on her time abroad.

Dear prospective study-abroad students,

My name is Stephanie Cuddalore Priya and I am an accounting student at the Tippie College of Business, and a CIMBA Spring 2015 alumna. 

For 12 weeks, I had the amazing opportunity to study in the small town of Paderno Del Grappa, Italy.

During these three short months, I traveled to 10 different countries and experienced more self-discovery, adventure, and culture than I thought possible.

As a homebody, I was initially nervous to study abroad, but I knew it was the right time for me to go and experience something new.

 It wasn’t until I was already in Italy, when I successfully navigated the confusing streets of Venice with just a paper map, that I realized I made the right decision (you’ll know what I mean when you get there). 

However, no matter where I was, my multicultural upbringing helped me overcome a common challenge many study abroad students may face: the language barrier.

I previously thought it was going to be a tedious task to ask for directions or find a restroom.

To my surprise, communicating with locals was a lot easier than I expected- especially when traveling in large cities.

Just remember, do not assume everyone speaks English! 

Lastly, your time studying abroad will go by in a blink of an eye.  Through the CIMBA program, every weekend was jam packed of travel plans to different cities or countries.

The biggest piece of advice I have for you is to slow down and appreciate your host city.

Paderno Del Grappa was the place where I formed friendships with CIMBA students and Italian students, visited places “off the beaten path,” and became molto bene at Italian. Paderno Del Grappa will always be special place for me. 

Sincerely,

Stephanie Cuddalore Priya 

Learn more about the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship  for study abroad, or read more reflections from our Diversity Ambassadors.

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