Meet Olivia Christensen (she/her/hers)

Program and Location:

International Business Dual Degree Italian Track, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore: Piacenza, Italy

Major/Minor:

Business Administration Entrepreneurship Concentration

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I wished to expand my mind and gain a global perspective. To live and study abroad has been a dream of mine when I engaged in my university search. Immersing in another language and culture grows a person immensely, and I wanted to do just that.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am seeing and acknowledging my resilience and courage. It is an ambitious decision to go abroad to live and pursue a diverse education experience from the only one I have known my whole life. This takes courage and comes with various challenges to overcome and grow from. In my first 6 months in Italy, I feel immensely equipped to take on the world from what I’ve done to establish myself.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

Traveling and discovering new places with their unique cultures. I’ve only been within Italy so far and there is such a diverse landscape in the country alone. Each city has its own special characteristics and culture to explore.

What was your experience with navigating COVID-19 abroad?

Wild. Simply put for sure haha. The public health system is not easy to register for being from the States and attaining the green pass takes much efforts with the slow pace of the bureaucratic system. It makes it challenging to live life without it as the regulations are constantly changing and have only become stricter as I’ve lived here. Being vaccinated opens up every door though, so it has helped me incredibly to be able to live my life and interact with my community.

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced abroad?

I found support in the international student community and university resources from both NC State and my university in Italy. Utilizing all you can and surrounding yourself with many perspectives and aids is so important.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?

Maintain an open mind and absorb every moment to the fullest. There is so much to learn and see, it is important to be patient and avoid judgement. With this, your experience will be very impactful and something you’ll never forget.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely! It is the best opportunity anyone could ask for.