By Chad Jones
Sharon Minier felt comfortable during her recent trip to Italy while exploring her family’s Italian roots and culture.
A senior from Lompoc, Calif., Sharon is pursuing a degree in social science. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans on obtaining a master’s degree from Keystone after she graduates this spring.
Sharon completed what is called a “J-Term” in Florence, Italy.
“J-term abroad is a two-week accelerated program. Class is held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday,” she said. “I was enrolled in a course that focused on the culture of food and wine, as well as Italian history.”
“Florence was the first city in the world to abolish the death penalty,” Sharon shared.
She also noted the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence was built in 1345 and is still used today.
“During World War II Hitler bombed Florence but gave strict orders not to bomb the bridge,” Sharon added.
During free time, her favorite activity was enjoying the Italian cuisine. Her favorite dish was margarita pizza.
“I stayed at the Student Hotel La Florence and they had a restaurant there. Their margarita pizza was the best!” she stated.
During Sharon’s stay, she also learned other savvy cuisine tips.
“Eating a big breakfast is not common, and dinner is eaten between 8-9 p.m.” she said.
Studying abroad gave Sharon a confidence boost. She noted the experiences on her trip forced her to step out of her comfort zone and is glad she did so.
“Keep your mind and heart open and the experience will profoundly change you.”
Keystone’s social science program has helped Sharon achieve her goals and reap success. More importantly, Keystone has assisted in improving her self-esteem.
“The support of Assistant Professor Michael McDougall has been invaluable for my success at Keystone,” she said. “I’m graduating this May and I’ve had a dozen interview requests.”
During her time as a graduate student, Sharon plans to study abroad but this time for a full-term to get a complete experience and see more of the destination she chooses next.
Visit Keystone’s Study Abroad page to learn more about exploring your academic goals in an international setting.