Hello! My name is Rebecca Barnes, an Interior Design major here at East Carolina! Currently, I also have a minor in International Studies & certificate in Entrepreneurship. My hometown is Jacksonville, N.C. which is a quick drive to Topsail Beach. Here, I work part-time every summer & often spend my days off there as well. Besides seeing the ocean, I enjoy exercising, fishing, & photography!

Where did you study abroad?

Italy (starting in Venice & ending in Vico Equense on the Amalfi Coast)

What is Your Favorite Memory from Your Time Abroad?

One memory that I will forever cherish from my time spent in Italy is actually from our final night before I had flown to my next destination: the majority of us in the program spent time together on our hotel’s rooftop after dinner playing card games & looking out at Vico Equense (on the Amalfi Coast’s) lit-up skyline. Just down the street, an Italian wedding reception was taking place & its singer had the most beautiful voice so we all stayed up, talked, & listened!

How Has Studying Abroad Helped Your Personal and Professional Life?

Not only has studying abroad benefited me socially with the many connections it’s allowed me to make, but it has also allowed me to develop a professional skillset in which I will take with me into the start of my career. Learning to adapt to living situations & travel itineraries, along with maintaining my everyday routine & study habits while often on the road, has helped me to grow in numerous ways. Since reentering the U.S., I can confidently say I feel more prepared to enter my industry’s workforce based on what experience studying abroad has given me & what lessons I’ve learned from taking part in its journey.

What Advice Can You Offer to Students Interested in Studying Abroad?

I would advise students hoping to study abroad in the future to go into their programs fully open-minded. There were many things I personally did not think I could or would do, as well as accomplish, until I had done so while studying in Italy. Saying “yes” more than “no” while abroad often led to me discover new-found hobbies, plus presented me with several new challenges & opportunities! Whether it’s a food you say you don’t prefer the taste of or an outdoor activity you never grew up doing, try it (at least once!).

Do You Have Any Plans or Ideas to Travel Abroad Again?

Experiencing Italy while living amongst a new population of people has inspired me to see more of our large world & what other cultures, customs, & perspectives it has to offer! In the future, I plan to visit more of Europe now that I’ve accomplished seeing one portion of it while also including countries that home cultures differing from those in Europe; ideally, Argentina or Australia will be next!

You can email Becca at to learn more about her experience!