Saint Mary's is your home; the world is your classroom: Chelsea Young

Chelsea Young, left, and her friend, Theresa Nucciarone, in Rome.
Chelsea Young, left, and her friend, Saint Mary's student
Theresa Nucciarone, enjoy Rome.

The poet Lord Byron called Rome the “city of the soul.” Junior Chelsea Young understands.

"What I value most from my experience studying abroad is the person it made me."

“I could write a book about why I love Rome,” she says. “The food, the sights, the people, and the history are the obvious answers. But what I value most from my experience studying abroad is the person it made me. I became more confident, adventurous, and curious. I matured emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. I was astounded by the progress I made in three months. It was the best experience of my life.”

Chelsea isn’t alone in her enthusiasm. Ask any Saint Mary’s student who has studied abroad—and that's more than 50 percent of current students—and she’ll talk (and talk and talk) about personal transformation and growth, whether she studied in Ireland, France, India, South Korea, or any of the other 18 locations.

For Chelsea, a studio arts major from South Bend, Indiana, Rome was the city of her soul. “From the moment I decided on going to Saint Mary's, I knew I would be going to Rome,” she says. And persuasive forces were at work, too: “My Italian professor, Dr. Peter Checca, spoke so highly of Rome that I felt it would be a tragedy if I didn't go. Dr. Checca would always say in class, ‘When you go to Rome,’ not ‘if.’ Not going to Rome was never an option in my mind.”

Chelsea in Paris.
Chelsea in Paris.

Professor Checca was right. “By the end of the program I felt like an Italian—I knew the city, I knew the culture, and I could speak Italian more confidently,” Chelsea says. “I still miss Rome every single day and plan on making my way back there sometime soon!”

In the meantime Chelsea keeps busy on campus. In addition to a job in the Office of Admission and other activities, she represents her class on the Alumnae Association Board of Directors. “I interviewed with about 12 members of the Board—it was intense! I’m really excited about it. The alums are awesome and I look forward to getting to know them and learn from them.”

As passionate as Chelsea is about Saint Mary’s now, she wasn’t sold on the College until she set foot on campus. And Saint Mary’s made it affordable for her to attend. “Plain and simple, I would not be here if it were not for the generous gifts of donors and Saint Mary's,” she says. “Every year Saint Mary's has taken into account my family's financial situation and has tailored a financial plan to meet our needs.”

Her favorite part of the College is her “second family” of friends, coworkers, and professors. “Saint Mary's women are always supporting one another, and it's a great environment to do great things,” she says. “The drive to excel is contagious, and we're all pushing each other to strive for more. Saint Mary's is where you can achieve things you never knew you can and feel like you could go out into the world upon graduation and do something incredible.”

Chelsea with one of her works of art.
Chelsea with one of her works of art.

For her own part, Chelsea is planning to attend law school: “With my Saint Mary's background I am entirely confident that I will succeed splendidly.”

In Italian that’s un successo splendente, a splendid success.