Brianna – Switzerland, France & Italy

June 7, 2023

It has been 6 days since I returned to the states. Luckily, I didn’t get jet lagged coming back. I was so excited to tell my friends and family all about my trip and my experience abroad. I was only there for 12 days but it felt like I was there much longer. I met really cool people from within the group and also the locals. Coming back to the states wasn’t a huge adjustment, as I wasn’t  away for very long. But, I knew my trip impacted me in ways I never thought possible. I conquered fears, I tasted new food, and I saw the most beautiful places. I never would’ve taken this trip on my own, so I’m grateful for ECU for allowing us to go. I have been trying to study abroad since my freshman year. Now, as a graduate, I can end my time at ECU in the best way. The whole time I was away, I kept thinking “this isn’t real” or “I’m dreaming”. I couldn’t believe I was living out one of my dreams of traveling. If you’re thinking of going abroad, I highly recommend it. You’ll learn more about yourself and other cultures than you ever thought. I brought a disposable camera with me, and instead of taking pictures of tourist attractions, I took photos of local people during their daily routines. Kids dancing to music, guys playing hockey on roller skates, and musicians playing on the sidewalks are just a few images I captured. Taking a leap of faith doesn’t have to be as crazy as traveling to a new country, you can face your fears in your home time or in your college town. Fear shouldn’t hold you back from doing what you love. I certainly won’t let it. Thank you to everyone who checked up on me and made this trip possible. Thank you to ECU and Global Affairs for allowing me to write this blog!

–Brianna Terranova

May 31, 2023

After a week filled with site visits and seeing Geneva, we made it to Friday. We had a day trip to France planned and I was so excited. We took a train to Annecy, France in the morning and spent the whole day there. We toured the Musée-Château and walked around the beautiful city. There were mountains and greenery all around. Annecy also borders the Lac d’Annecy which had boats and people swimming. My friends and I found a cute Italian place to eat for lunch. We have found Italian food to be very common and very good in European countries. After lunch, we spotted an artist who had beautiful paintings of the city so we each purchased one as a souvenir. On this trip, I knew I was going to break out of my comfort zone and say “yes” more. We found a dock of paddle boats and we decided to take one out and it was one of the best experiences of the trip! We ended the day with macrons and walking along the water, taking in the warm air and amazing views.

On Saturday we packed our bags and traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland. We spent 3 days there. Zermatt is known as a ‘ski town’ because it snows year-round. Luckily, in the town it stayed warmer. We took a funicular up the mountain to see the Matterhorn peak, then hiked for almost 2 hours down. We spent most days walking through the town, trying new foods, buying souvenirs, and getting to know each other. On the last full day, me and 2 other students decided to paraglide. I have never done it before, and I was apprehensive at first. I’m scared of heights and rollercoasters, but I knew this was an experience I couldn’t pass up. I got up the courage to go and WOW it was awesome! On the last night, we tried fondue and hit the jacuzzi. This part of the trip made me realize how brave I can be if I put my mind to it.

The last leg of the trip was spent in Stresa, Italy. We took 3 trains to get there, but it was worth it. Stresa is surrounded by water and mountains with beautiful vegetation. The city was covered in flowers and palm trees. We toured 3 smaller islands by boat and ate delicious food on the second one. We were blown away by the palace on the first island. I also got my cannoli and gelato, so my trip was deemed successful! We ate dinner together as a group on the last night, reminiscing on our trip.

–Brianna Terranova

I’m currently in the airport, waiting to fly back to the states. I can’t believe my trip is over, but these memories will last a lifetime. I’m thankful for ECU, the professors, and the other students on this trip that quickly became close friends.

May 29, 2023

After almost 24 hours of flying, I finally landed in Geneva, Switzerland. My flight had landed a lot later than everyone else. They had already left the hotel and headed towards the water for a boat tour when I arrived. I almost started to panic, but I caught myself, realizing that I could get there on my own with directions. I finally met up with the group after they got off the boat, and we walked around Lake Geneva. I found my roommate and we got some dinner with new friends. We had an early night because the next couple days would consist of site visits from Monday to Thursday and we wanted to prevent any jet lag. We visited around 8 sites total. The sites included the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the Geneva Graduate Institute, the United Nations branches, and GAIN. Each site visit lasted from an hour to two hours, and we learned about the goals of each organization, and met some of the employees. Lunch and dinner were pretty much on our own but luckily our hotel had breakfast included. The breakfast always consisted of a croissant and fruit which I grew to love. We were lucky enough to have a hotel that was close to the bus stop so we could take the bus to the lake and find restaurants. We tried a bunch of different cultural foods such as Irish, Italian, Swiss, and Asian. The bus system took a couple days getting used to and it was a lot harder to travel as a huge group, but it almost made the experience better because we felt like locals. Every night after a site visit, we would have a debriefing with Dr. Cofie and Mrs. Haddock. We would talk about our favorite things about the organizations or things we thought could have improvements. We also discussed what we would do the next day. During one of our days of packed site visits, we also visited the Red Cross museum. It was really cool to see where the Red Cross was founded and all of the work they had done over the years. Most of these sites dealt with global health and even though I am not a public health major, the information was very interesting to learn about and I got a perspective I would have never had if I didn’t come on this trip. Most of the people we’ve run into can speak English which is lucky for us since not many of us can speak French. Everyone has been so kind and willing to help us even when we look like touristy Americans. We were in Geneva until Thursday and would leave on Saturday morning to head to Zermatt. On Friday we went to France for the day. I will go into those days in my next blog. I’m so excited to continue this trip and experience more amazing things.

–Brianna Terranova

May 16, 2023

Hello everyone! My name is Brianna Terranova and I am a senior in Exercise Physiology at ECU. I have been looking forward to joining a study abroad program since my freshman year. I am very grateful that I get to go this summer, for 13 days, apart of the Global Health program. I’ll be traveling to Switzerland, France and Italy with 29 other students. The program counts for 6 credits of Health courses, which will fulfill my remaining credits for graduation!

I booked my flights pretty early, as prices increase as it gets closer to departure. We had meetings throughout this past semester, preparing for our trip. I was able to meet the other students who are also going. I did not know anyone beforehand, which would normally make me nervous, but I knew this was an experience I did not want to miss out on. Luckily, I found a roommate for the duration of the trip. The first few days will consist of visiting different health organizations such as, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders, and listening to guest speakers and touring facilities. The latter half of the trip will be sightseeing, exploring cultures, and visiting new cities. I am so excited to embark on this adventure. I am someone who usually does not take leaps of faith like this one, but when will I ever be in a position to travel abroad for less, earn class credits, and build connections over seas? I am a week away from departing and I cannot wait to update everyone with my experiences!

–Brianna Terranova