Destination: Italy


Honors student is seeing the world

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jun 18, 2019) — Each semester, Kennesaw State University students participate in faculty-led education abroad programs to enhance their studies and gather perspective from nearly 40 countries worldwide. This summer is no different, as KSU’s Division of Global Affairs offers more than 50 programs covering a myriad of disciplines.

An annual tradition for students completing their second year in the President's Emerging Global Scholars (PEGS) program in KSU’s Honors College is a trip to Italy. A group of 20 students and three faculty members recently spent 10 days visiting Rome, Florence and Montepulciano, where Kennesaw State has an educational site.

One of the students, Natalie Jackson – a rising junior from Newnan majoring in marketing – shared some of her thoughts on the trip she described as “one of the most enjoyable and adventurous things I have ever done.” It was her second time studying abroad, after having traveled with PEGS to Costa Rica last year.

Natalie Jackson

Why was it so important for you to participate in an education abroad?

“I wanted to have a ‘one of a kind’ college experience that I would never forget. I knew that, if I was accepted into the President’s Emerging Global Scholars program, I would travel to the gorgeous beaches of Costa Rica and see the ancient beauty of Italy. Once I was accepted to the program, so many people told me that world travel would change my life. That is so true; studying abroad allows you to discover so much about the countries that you visit as well as reveals hidden aspects about home.”

What was the best part of your education abroad experience?

“I created so many favorite memories in Italy that it is hard to pick just one. A friend told me that I needed to go horseback riding while I was there, so I jumped at the chance. I was able to ride horses with a few friends through the rolling hills, mountains and vineyards of Tuscany. I saw the most incredible views of Italy that could not be seen and enjoyed as much on foot or in a car. I was also able to laugh and talk to some close friends. Another one of my favorite experiences was making our own pasta at a local farm in Montepulciano. Making our own pasta turned into a five-course homemade meal that was some of the best food I have ever eaten!”

Natalie Jackson

What did you find most unique about the country you visited?

“With all of the history that Italy has, and the importance of the history, not much of an emphasis was put on the beauty in nature that it has as well. If you are ever in Montepulciano, climb to the top of the bell tower. You will be in awe!”

How has studying abroad enhanced what you’ve learned in the classroom?

“I would say that the history really ‘clicked’ for me. From Michelangelo’s greatest art pieces to Galileo’s inventions and discoveries to incredible Roman ruins, I was able to put visual pictures to the things that I had been learning about since my earliest education. It was mind-blowing to see these things right in front of me and have the historical facts I knew actually come to life. History became less of being just a bunch of stories and more of something I am able to cherish and understand.”

Natalie Jackson

What advice would you give to students who are interested in education abroad?

“Do it! My two study abroad trips have been the highlight of my first two college years, and I am already trying to decide what my third trip will be. I cannot tell you enough that this will change your life for the better and ignite a spark in you that will make you more curious about the world.”

– Paul Floeckher

Photos submitted


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit