Student Stories: the point of view of an international student. How is studying abroad in the US?

silvia porto rico

My teammate took this picture of me when we were all in Puerto Rico for a tournament.

My name is Silvia Grassini, and I am a  rising Senior International Business major at Towson University. I am also a student athlete, I play Volleyball in the varsity team here at Towson.  This summer, I interned in the Towson Study Abroad Office.

I am an international student from Padua, Italy. My adventure in the US started in 2017, when I transferred to Towson. I started as a sophomore, since I transferred some credits from back home in Italy.


This is a picture of my hometown, Padua (in Italian, Padova). Did you know that “Prato della Valle”, the square you are seeing in the picture is one of the biggest ones in Europe?

My experience in the US

To all the readers interested in studying abroad, I’d like to share my experience studying abroad at Towson University. Maybe seeing America from an external point of view can make you realize things that you never thought about before.

The first point I decided to analyze is whether or not America matched my expectations. Well, the answer is definitely yes. Coming from a European setting, I expected America to be more globally oriented and to have a lot more commodities. For example, I imagined big shops and huge groceries stores and the expectations weren’t disappointed. Just walking into a Wegmans makes my heart race for how everything is laid out nicely and the variety of goods offered is breathtaking.

Besides my shopping addiction for everything that is aesthetically pleasant, I was very impressed with how many people have a job and attend college as the same time. I don’t think I saw a lot of people attending university and working at the same time back home in Italy. I think this is a very important factor for students’s futures, being able to manage homework, study sessions and at the same time a job without falling behind.

My student-athlete experience

From the student athlete point of view, I realized how much more staff are ready to help you and how many more facilities are available when someone wants to workout. Even outside the regular practice schedule. I have probably never been in better shape than I am right now (I mean I really have to work out a lot though, considering all the food that I eat 😊) both mentally and physically.

towson vb

This is my volleyball team roster as last year! Can you guys guess what is my jersey number?

At first, however, the changes that I experienced while playing volleyball were overwhelming: of course, being in a different country, things are different; after a period of adjustment, I realized ultimately that if you put effort in whatever thing you do, you’ll not only see improvements (and sometimes rewards as well), but also you’ll achieve a level of personal satisfaction that will keep you motivated and active.

My final advice

Concluding this post, I must say that studying abroad really opened my eyes up, so much that I’m looking forward for the next study abroad experience! You’ll probably see me on the Australian beaches next spring! To all of you, I would say that even if at first changes may seem scary, with a little bit of adaptability there is no obstacle you can’t overcome; the final result of starting an adventure abroad is an enrichment that changes you for the better, not only as a student but also as a person.