Immerse Yourself in Experience: Study Abroad Alumna Megan Heinzinger
Megan Heinzinger studied abroad at JCU in Spring 2014 while attending Marquette University. After earning her B.A. in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia, she enrolled in the University of Nebraska College of Law.
What are you doing now?
After graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law last May, I spent the summer studying for the Illinois bar exam. I took the exam at the end of July and will be able to begin practicing as an attorney after I receive the results in October.
What brought you to JCU?
I wanted to study abroad in Italy during my undergraduate career and was most taken by the city of Rome. After some research, I discovered that JCU is located in the charming area of Trastevere, in the heart of the city. I thought this would be the most beautiful place to spend a semester and decided to apply.
How did you become interested in Italian language and culture?
My mother’s family is Italian and I was raised Roman Catholic, so I had always wanted to visit Rome for its historical and religious significance. Apart from that, the food, scenery, and lifestyle is nothing short of tantalizing. As a college student who had not yet seen most of the world, Rome had the strongest draw for all these reasons.
What did you like best about Rome and Italy?
It’s difficult to choose! I enjoyed every minute of my semester in Rome. My classes were fascinating and several were held onsite at ancient ruins. My favorite of these was a religious history course which included a tour of a newly-excavated area beneath the Vatican. Another onsite course brought us around Rome each week, and to Pompeii, near Naples. My coursework actually led me to experience the most notable sites in Rome.
Additionally, every meal was delicious and every day was full of new and exciting experiences. I tried dishes I had never heard of before and quickly became comfortable speaking Italian. Over the weekends I was able to plan trips around Italy and Europe with my friends. I visited Venice, Munich, Dublin, Lucerne, Barcelona, and Paris.
Beyond all else, the people I met during the semester made the most lasting impression. It was easy to transition into life abroad due to the extremely welcoming atmosphere at JCU and in Rome as a whole. It was effortless to meet new people and make friends, many of whom I am still in contact with today. The relationships gained through my time in Rome were certainly the most valuable part of my time spent abroad.
What is your ultimate career goal?
I specialized in litigation and I aim to work as a prosecutor or go into private practice as a civil litigator. However, I have also enjoyed my previous work in immigration law and tax law. I can see my career going in many different directions at this point.
Do you have any advice for students?
My cliché but sincere advice is to leave no stone unturned. College is an opportunity to learn about the world and discover the impact you desire to make upon it, but your life after college should be no different. Take advantage of every chance to try new things, including studying abroad, and discover what inspires you the most. Immerse yourself in experience, work hard, and enjoy the ride!