Studying Abroad in Rome Changes Student’s Perspective on Life

Reece Pearlman ’24 studied this past fall at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.
Photo of Reece Pearlman '25 standing in front of a castle in Ireland.
Ireland was one of the many countries Reece Pearlman '25 visited during her semester abroad in Rome, Italy last fall.

Traveling solo to a foreign country may be nerve-wracking for some, but not for Reece Pearlman ’24.

This past fall, she hopped on a plane to study abroad for a semester at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.

“I was OK with the fact that I didn’t know anyone because I feel like the study abroad experience is about going out on your own,” Pearlman said.

And that’s exactly what she did. Pearlman signed up for random housing, where she was placed in a six-person suite with students from Texas Tech University and the University of Portland. Pearlman also got to know fellow Warrior Kat DiBari ‘25, who also lived in the suite. 

“We all got so close,” she explained. “We would do everything together – get dinner, go out. We’re still talking to this day.”

Ever since she was young, Pearlman dreamed of taking a college semester somewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she wasn’t able to fulfill her dream until her senior year.

“I kind of had to struggle with the fact that I was going during my senior year,” she explained. “I had to weigh the pros and cons. But I decided I would regret not going more than if I had stayed.”

Pearlman said she enjoyed pursuing her undergraduate marketing degree abroad. She said she also took fun elective courses such as printmaking and photography.

“I’ve always found marketing interesting – the psychology behind it,” she continued. “(I like learning) what’s able to grab people’s attention, what is memorable and what’s not. And I’ve always liked art.”

Pearlman also had an internship at The Rome Design Agency, a small marketing firm located near the Vatican. There, she managed social media and worked with copy for clients’ websites. 

“It was an interesting balance,” she said. “I never had an internship before. I would go to the office one or two times a week. It was about 45 minutes from my apartment but it helped me learn the city.”

Among the highlights of her semester was traveling. During her time in Europe, Pearlman visited Barcelona, London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Malta, Florence, Sorrento, Venice and Cinque Terre. 

Now, back in North Andover, Pearlman serves as a study abroad ambassador and advises Merrimack students who are interested in taking a semester abroad. 

“If you get an opportunity to do it, do it for sure,” she said. “As cheesy as it sounds, it really is life-changing. I came back with a different perspective and outlook on things.”

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