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Study Abroad to Experience History for Yourself!


The Department of History strongly encourages its students to participate in one of the many Study Abroad opportunities available at Fredonia, but perhaps the best advocates for these programs comes from our students themselves!  Greg Pinto and Morgan Rybak recently studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Studying abroad during college can be a challenging decision to make, but it can be the most life-changing experience. Pinto and Rybak remark that they decided to study abroad because they have always wanted to, and mainly for the experience that comes from being in a different country for an extended period of time. If you do decide to study abroad, be open to new situations and ideas. Studying abroad is an opportunity for students to learn not only about the country's culture and how others live outside America, but about themselves.  

Italy is a country that is abundant in history. Throughout the city of Rome, there are remnants of the old empire visible in the architecture of the city. These students have been able to turn what they have learned over the years from textbooks and lectures on people, places, and events in history, into a reality. Rybak said that, “I still  feel like a giddy little kid when I see the Colosseum or walk through the Roman Forum. I  have the best of both worlds where I get to go to class and learn about what I love, and then I get to go and physically see and touch it.” These two students have been able to capture the reality of the history we all learn about by exploring these different places in person. One of the experiences that stands out for Rybak is when she traveled to Normandy in northern France and took a tour of the D-Day beaches. She comments, "there was a moment when I was standing in a German bunker from World War II and overlooking Omaha beach, and all I could think was wow.” For Pinto, the best experience that sticks with him was when he took a bus trip to a town two hours from Rome near the coast of Terracina. It was a chance to explore his surroundings in the picturesque Italian scenery on his own.

"There really is no way to properly convey how amazing this experience is" - Morgan Rybak

Pinto and Rybak both have said that studying abroad is something you should just “go for.” Experiences such as studying abroad allows a person to step out of their comfort zone and to have a greater appreciation for what you have at home in America. Also, it changes your views on the world. Pinto and Rybak state that they are now more accepting of others and open to new things that come their way. Most importantly, studying abroad can have a life-changing impact on a person. Pinto says that he “learned  to be more self-sufficient and solve problems for myself.” Both of these students made the most of their time studying abroad in Italy. They became engaged with history on a first hand basis, making what they had read about become a tangible experience. Studying abroad is a life-altering opportunity and if someone is contemplating whether or not to try it, take these students’ advice and “just do it and see for yourself.”

History Department

  • E332 Thompson Hall State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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