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Back to the Forest: Reflecting on Study Abroad Adventures With Austin Rubino

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wake Forest chapter.

With a new semester to kick off a new year, campus is filled with a return of faces old and dear. That’s right, Deacs, the juniors are back from their famous exodus to exotic cities with tales of study abroad adventures galore. To those of you who haven’t shared in this infamous Wake Forest rite of passage, have you ever wondered what sort of thoughts and emotions would flood your brain when the calendar tells you its time to return to the States and Mother So Dear? Never fear, Austin Rubino let us pick his brain for some of his best memories abroad and things to look forward to upon his return to the Forest.

Her Campus (HC): As last fall semester wound down, what was the best part about winter break?

Austin Rubino (AR): Coming home from abroad and going straight into the holidays was awesome because I had so much to share with my family and friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I had been mostly hanging out with my dog and enjoying some home cooking. I was definitely stoked to watch football on Sunday, too. I really missed watching the Patriots.

HC: It’s been awhile since you were on campus! How was your experience being abroad in London at the Worrell House this semester?

AR: The Worrell House was a really cool place to study abroad. The house itself is immaculate, and it’s in a great section of London with plenty to do. I was lucky to have a fantastic group of housemates who made the experience so much better. The program was structured so that we had two, week long breaks throughout the semester. This gave us plenty of time to travel while also ensuring we could spend most of our weekends in London. The coursework was immersive: all of our classes were supplemented by experiences in London. We saw a play every week for our theater class, went to a different gallery every week for art history, and went on many guided tours for our London history class. It was quite a lot to do, and there was never a dull moment.

HC: What was your favorite memory while being abroad?

AR: This is an impossible question! If I have to narrow it down to one, the first memory that comes to mind was the Worrell House Christmas celebration we did the day after classes ended. We organized a Secret Santa and everybody gave really nice gifts then we all just hung out as a group on our last morning together. By the end of a long and very busy semester it’s hard not to think of yourself as a big family. There were obviously a lot of great travel moments throughout the semester, but I definitely think that morning just hanging out with everybody was one of my best memories.

HC:  Where was your favorite place that you visited? 

AR: Hands down my favorite city I went to abroad was London. There was so much to do in London I feel like I need to go back for another semester. I’m not sure if that counts though, so my favorite place that I visited outside of London was probably Rome. There was so much history in Rome and every direction you looked you would find some beautiful church or building; it honestly felt like another world to me. The Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum were some of the highlights of my time abroad. I really enjoyed Munich, Prague, Budapest, Dublin, and Edinburgh too. This is a tough choice.

HC: What tips would you give future abroad students?

AR: Be like Jim Carey in the movie “Yes Man.” You only get three or four months abroad so you don’t have much time to waste. I tried to do everything that came my way. Some of my best memories from this past semester came from spur of the moment decisions. You will always find time to get your work done, just go for it.

HC: What are you most looking forward to when you are back on campus?

AR: It was really hard to say goodbye to my semester abroad, but going back to Wake made it a little easier. In addition to the Cookout tray making a miraculous return to my regular diet, I am definitely excited just to be back on campus. As awesome as it was taking classes in my living room, I miss walking to class and studying in the library, really just being part of the Wake Forest community. I missed my friends too, especially Maria in the Mag Room.

HC: What activities are you involved in at Wake?

AR: One of the things I really missed abroad was giving tours. I am an “Ambassador in Admissions,” and one of the highlights of my week is giving my tour. I’ve loved Wake Forest ever since my brother started here in 2005, and I enjoy sharing that school spirit with prospective students and helping them through the college decision process. Now I have a whole new set of anecdotes to give on the Reynolda patio where I talk about study abroad.

HC: When you have free time, what do you like to do?

AR: I love playing golf and since going abroad I have missed playing regularly with a few buddies at Wake. I played competitively for my high school team, but in college it has been a great way to relax on the weekends. Also, last spring a friend got me to try yoga, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

HC: Are you a night owl or morning person?

AR: I am definitely more of a night owl.

HC: Are you a beach, country, or city person? Why?

AR: I’m a beach person. I grew up in a coastal town north of Boston and since going to Wake I’ve had to adjust to being more than 15 minutes from the ocean. I certainly enjoyed living in the city this past semester, however, home to me is still the beach. I really love New England seafood too. Lobster rolls and fried clams are among my favorite meals. My home town is considered by most to be home to the world’s best fried clam. 

HC: Are you superstitious? About what?

AR: “’I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little sticious’ –Michael Scott” – Austin Rubino

HC: What song is the soundtrack to your life?

AR: Any of my friends will tell you that I am a shameless fan of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and I’m always playing it, especially when nobody else wants to hear it. I don’t know if I can choose specific song by them, but a Frankie Valli playlist would definitely be the soundtrack to my life. A highlight abroad would be going to Jersey Boys in London’s West End; I have always wanted to see it so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.


Photos courtesy of Austin Rubino

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