Senior communications student writing guide to studying abroad

Morgan Frantz sits outside the Colosseum in Rome. Courtesy of Morgan Frantz

Morgan Frantz sits outside the Colosseum in Rome. Courtesy of Morgan Frantz

Jacob Majka

Every semester, students who study abroad experience things that they never could possibly experience while staying at Kent State. One student took this a step further when he decided to write a book about studying abroad titled “L’avventura Italia: The CCI Minimalist’s Guide to Florence (and Beyond).”

While he was preparing to go to Florence, Italy, as a part of CCI Explore’s Study Away Programs last semester, senior global communications major Morgan Frantz wasn’t prepared. He felt he didn’t have as much information about the process as he would’ve liked. Frantz decided to write about his experiences while still abroad.

“I started by reaching out to Stephanie Smith, a associate professor in the College of Communication and Information, about writing a blog post, and as I began writing I kind of just ran with the idea and it went from there,” he said. “It just expanded to a multi-faceted idea with study abroad tips and guides, my own narratives and experiences, my mental state and student and faculty interviews and their experiences.”

The book itself will be around 100 pages, Frantz said. He began writing the book while he was abroad and finished it after he came back to the U.S. It will contain general tips on travelling such as places to eat, the best ways to travel and what to take with you on trips. Frantz also included his own personal experiences abroad to give something students could relate to.

“I have stories and narratives of my experience, whether it being in the airport in Bulgaria for 8 hours to surfing on the west coast of Italy that I just wanted to write about as a relatable experience,” Frantz said.

Smith believed Frantz would do great things with this book when he brought the idea up to her at the beginning of last year.

“I had him as a student and he was exceptional,” Smith. said “I thought he really understood the power of global communication, was passionate about social justice and just really curious about the world.”

Frantz continued to write throughout his entire time studying abroad, using most of his free time while there, and finishing up the book when he got back to the United States. He thought it was important to emphasize the culture shock a student can experience when returning from study away programs.

“Reacclimating is very hard, for me it was trying to re-establish friendships and expecting your relationships to be the same but they’re different and you’re different,” Frantz said. “I tried to be very personal with how I was affected.”

There is not a comprehensive guide for students to refer to about studying abroad, but Smith hopes that this book will accomplish that.

“We realized it filled a niche we needed. We needed to talk about our (Study Away) program from a student’s perspective,” Smith said. “We plan to use it for recruitment, to market the programs and market the capabilities of one superb student who decided to write a book. He was going to do it with or without us and we decided you should do it with us because we have a need.”

This book will be used as a resource that Frantz hopes make students more comfortable with their experience and offer a relatable account of the entire process.

“You don’t have to take your entire life with you. It’s ok to travel and get out of your comfort zone,” Frantz said.

He hopes this book can allow students to share that sentiment along with him.

Jacob Majka is the CCI reporter. Contact him at [email protected].