Adam Daniel Maarec
4835 Cordell Avenue Apt 1001 / Bethesda, Maryland 20814
301-801-4895 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Law School Application Personal Statement
It was my third time crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but I had no idea what to expect from this journey.
January 11th, 2005 I ventured to Milan, Italy for a six month study abroad program at Europe’s famed
commerce and economics school, Bocconi University.
My first days in Milan were filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and a bit of anxiety; I remember them
with perfect clarity. Immediately thrown into classic Italian disorder, I was told my reserved dorm room was no
longer available the day that I arrived. Rather than wait for the academic bureaucracy to resolve the problem, I
found a quaint room in an apartment with two Italian graduate students studying at Bocconi. Here I was able to
establish myself independently, without any ties to the exchange program.
I chose to walk to school the first few days, taking in the sounds of the Italian language and people at my own
pace. I spoke no Italian, yet wanted to hear the people around me. I was genuinely intrigued – the commercial
epicenter of Italy, the fashion capital of Europe, and a reputable academic institution were all at my fingertips.
Three weeks into my stay in Milan, I took a train to Florence with two new friends. We stayed in a small
private room with short vaulted ceilings, similar to a brick pizza oven. After taking control of my academic
requirements, and realizing how easy it was to move from city to city, I began traveling almost every weekend.
Milan turned out to be the perfect central hub for European travel. I continued with long weekends in Madrid,
Venice, Nice, Monaco, Paris, Amsterdam, Genoa, Sicily, Lucca, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, and Ibiza. By
the end of the semester, I was not just in control of the academic system, I had mastered it. I was traveling from
Thursday afternoon to Monday night, systematically visiting new towns and returning to the places that I
enjoyed the most, studying on train rides and basing my time in Milan around exams.
On each of these mini vacations I traveled with fellow exchange students, staying at youth hostels where
everything from sleeping to eating takes place communally. These hostels provide a unique breeding ground for
social activity, where I met interesting people from all over the world. I realized how important the
interpersonal aspect of travel was when I traveled alone on my last three excursions to Rome, Cinque Terre, and
Corfu. These trips were the most rewarding; from the interesting people I met to the self-sufficiency I
experienced and noticed for the first time. Becoming friends with people from vastly different cultures and
enjoying my own company without worry were surprisingly difficult but exceptionally rewarding feats to
Reflecting on the experience, I see that I was able to enter unknown situations independently and thrive
in the presence of intense challenges. My grandmother, a very wise woman, once told me that I had to make my
own luck. I put myself in the right places with detailed preparations, so that I never feared challenge but
embraced it with the ambition to try something new. Turning the anxiousness from discovering the unknown
into a passion for exploration has been the most rewarding personal development from my time in Italy.
After returning home, a seemingly endless desire to approach the unexpected brought me back to Europe
twice; once to go backpacking for a month with a cousin, and a second time as an American delegate to the
European Union of Jewish Student’s annual Summer University in Barcelona. An appreciation for the value of
social relationships and the ability to be independent in unfamiliar circumstances has helped me develop into
the confident, assertive person I am today. I am looking forward to a challenging academic curriculum where
my past experiences and forward ambition will allow me to become an asset to the student body.