My Study Abroad experience in Rochester, NY, USA

by Sanja Čović, RIT Croatia Alumna,
graduated from the HTM program in 2020

I have always wished to enroll in a college that would offer me an education beyond conventional learning, along with exposure to an international environment.

For me, one of the most rewarding opportunities offered here at  RIT was undoubtedly the Global Scholars Program! It is a program designed for students from RIT global campuses, which facilitates global exchange for up to two semesters at either the RIT Rochester or Dubai campus. I must admit this was one of the main determinants in my decision to enroll at  RIT Croatia, but I also knew I would need to reach a certain degree of maturity during my studies, before embarking upon a new journey of living on a different continent. My senior year proved to be the perfect timing to join RIT Rochester campus, because not only did I take  regular courses, but I also got to conduct my Capstone Research Project and had the chance to choose a topic that I really enjoyed. I got to familiarize myself with American hospitality practices, as I was discovering how hotels were helping their communities during hurricanes. It was something completely new to me, and I was so happy to be able to make lots of interesting discoveries throughout the research.

Once I arrived at the campus, I was mainly surprised by the size! It is almost like a city in itself (within the city of Rochester). There is a vast international student body at the campus, from over 100 countries. The hospitality department is small in comparison to other majors, but there are lots of activities and clubs students may choose to join. I volunteered during Valentine’s Day Dinner, which was entirely a student-led event, and it was extremely rewarding to showcase our hospitality to the guests.

In order to get to know more students from the campus, I joined  Delta Sigma Pi, which is perceived as the foremost professional business fraternity. This was also an exciting challenge, as there is a structured procedure a student needs to undergo to be able to join. The fraternity organizes many events which involve commitment to the values of brotherhood, professionalism, community service and scholarship. I decided to join the Community Service Committee as I was passionate about doing something for a greater cause, so I was excited to see where that would take me.

Life at RIT never ceases to amaze! Everything is fast-paced, there are many clubs, divisions and everything for all kinds of interests and personalities. Hockey is such a big thing here, and it is definitely enjoyable watching the matches and supporting the Tigers. Here you really get that feeling that you are a part of a big family! The Global Office had many fun activities for international students. I also used the opportunity to travel during my Spring Break and visit California. Rochester is a great starting point for travel opportunities, and is in the proximity of some big and famous cities, such as Toronto and New York City.

When the pandemic struck, I felt very scared at first. It was surely an emotional roller coaster for all of us. However, I stayed in touch with the RIT Community via visual platforms and even though we could see each other only virtually, at no point did I feel alone. I continued to receive all the support needed to finish my semester strong and graduate.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone who is passionate about other cultures, is open-minded and willing to give up on certain things, in order to get something new, because the experience is incredibly rewarding. Education does not revolve solely around studying for  exams, or doing assignments. Education gained throughout experiential learning and challenging yourself to be open to what the future holds is the most priceless thing  RIT has to offer!

RIT Croatia. Different from Day 1.

We are the right takeoff for your global career.

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