Name: Andrea Kecić
Home Campus: RIT Croatia – Dubrovnik
Major: Hospitality, Tourism, and Management
Favorite place to hang out at the RIT main campus: The Global Village Plaza
Favorite spot to study: The conference room in Global Village
Favorite place to eat on campus: The Global Grille
Why did you decide to join the RIT Global Scholar program?
I had decided earlier in my studies that I was going to spend my sophomore year studying abroad somewhere; however, I soon changed my mind and decided to do so in my junior year because I thought it would be, academically, more beneficial. Since I was already studying at an American university (RIT Croatia), and since I had the chance to study at another location of my same university, that is located in the United States, I had to grab this opportunity and push myself out of my comfort zone. For me, in addition to everything that RIT in Rochester has to offer, having the Global Scholar Program so readily-available, was one of the main factors that influenced my decision to join.
What are the biggest differences between RIT main campus and RIT Croatia?
Campus wise, if you’re living in on-campus housing, you’re close to everything: you live, study, and eat in one place which is very, very convenient. There are more student activities here than at my home campus; not a day goes by with no student activity going. I study at the Dubrovnik campus of RIT Croatia, and, as such, the size of the campus itself is obviously a major difference between the two, with the RIT Main Campus being significantly larger. Classes are definitely much harder in terms of student competitiveness and the different backgrounds each student has; however, this has a positive connotation for me as it also pushes me to study harder.
Have you experienced a cultural shock already?
Not really because I hang around with former study abroad students from the main campus that went to RIT Croatia last semester and they informed me on what (and what not) to expect. Although, I have to note that the food is much different from the one back home and the portions are much, much larger. I will never order a large sized portion ever again! Also, I think I was ready and prepared for almost everything… except for these midterms!
What’s the benefit of being a Global Scholar?
Everything! First, you get to meet and network with so many people. Second, besides meeting others, you also get to meet new sides of yourself that you didn’t even know existed. For instance, I am an official student athlete – I’m rowing! This is something I never thought I would be doing! In addition to that, I am also a member of the RIT Student Government and I work at the Global Office part-time. I know it may sound like a cliché, but I am sure that the relationships I have made – and continue to make – so far, I will keep forever! Now I have this group of friends – my sports team, roommates, classmates – and I truly feel like I’m home — away from home, that is.
What are your plans for the future?
My short-terms plans for the future include two major things: coming back to RIT main campus next semester, as well, and find a co-op while I’m here! Whereas long-term, I plan to get an internship abroad, preferably in Europe (but not in my home country) in event or venue management to further develop the skills I have acquired here and see where it will take me!
Do you have any advice for future Global Scholars?
Yes! Get out of your comfort zone and away from your group of friends – you should definitely use this opportunity to meet new people in this is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Plus, you don’t need any other excuse other than you have to take full advantage of this program! With regards to food, housing, and every other technicality, I highly suggest that you talk to previous Global Scholars to get an idea from their experiences. I believe it is equally important to befriend study abroad students that RIT sends to your home campus because they will give your more comprehensive information on life at RIT, which will make it much easier for you here!