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An American Wolfpack Abroad: Marc Celestini’s Summer of Learning and Adventure

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Marc visiting Machu Picchu, Peru during his study abroad summer in 2015. Photo courtesy of Marc Celestini.

Marc Celestini, a senior at NC State University, has an impressive range of academic and recreational pursuits. He is majoring in computer engineering and electrical engineering while also studying minors in Spanish and Art and Design. Marc also plays several instruments, DJ’s on WKNC’s “Canto de Lobos” (“Wolfpack Songs”), volunteers at the Mexican Consulate, works at Bida Manda in downtown Raleigh, and enjoys snowboarding, studying films, learning languages, photography, and working on cars.

Marc hopes to utilize his skills in math and science to improve the world around him, and also has personal motivations for his Spanish minor and study abroad endeavors. “As I moved throughout my career here at NC State, I realized that I wanted the ability to engage in the global community at a higher level,” he explains, “so I decided to add a minor in Spanish and study abroad.”

Marc spent the past summer studying in Lima and Cusco, Peru, and Valencia, Spain in order to fully implement the Spanish he had learned in the classroom. “I also craved a way to learn about the cultures and walks of life that existed both in Peru and Spain, and what similarities and differences I possess with Peruvians and Spaniards,” Marc states.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his study abroad experience was the opportunity to speak with other locals. “The ability to naturally converse in someone’s mother tongue and share laughs, serious moments, or thought provoking conversations,” Marc recalls, “is a feeling that I cannot describe.”

However, communication was also the most challenging facet of studying abroad for Marc. He felt that there were times, particularly during long or philosophical conversations, that he could not get his point across effectively, and came off as a different person as a result.

Marc attending a soccer game in Madrid, Spain during his study abroad summer in 2015. Photo courtesy of Marc Celestini.
Marc attending an international friendly game between Peru and Mexico in Lima, Peru. Photo courtesy of Marc Celestini.

Marc also realized during his studies that nothing is as black and white as it may seem. “You think that you’ve learned about a culture or that you know what topics are prevalent in a certain area,” he says, “but the fact of the matter is that all interesting points of discussion exist on a spectrum, and there are valid sides to all arguments.”

Based on his experiences, Marc would encourage anyone to study abroad and forget any preconceptions of their destination. “Each country and location,” he details, “has a myriad of complex situations, histories, issues, and identities that form the culture of that individual place. You really cannot know a place until you’re there, taking the entire city in and talking with the people who live there.” He also learned that, “despite language and culture, we are all much more similar than we can imagine.”

To learn more about all of the study abroad programs that NC State offers, visit the FLL Study Abroad website.

By Jasmyn Morere