Phoebe Bradbury '15
By Nicole Patrizio '16
Phoebe Bradbury, a member of the class of 2015, is an English major with a
concentration in Writing. During her undergraduate education, she’s taken full
advantage of the various cultural experiences and travel opportunities that Marist
has to offer.
Q: You took the idea of “going away for college” very seriously. Not only
did you choose a school on the other side of the country, but you also
decided to spend your freshman year on another continent. What exactly
made you decide to enroll in Marist’s “Freshman Florence Experience”
A: I had never left the country before, but had always been interested in traveling
to other countries and meeting other people, so when I got the letter from Marist
saying they had an opening in the program I jumped at the opportunity. I actually
didn't find out that I was going to be studying in Florence until after I graduated from
high school—I had to announce the news to my friends on Facebook!
People asked me why I would want to go abroad my freshman year, but I didn't see why that was so strange. I had nothing
tying me to the campus, and no friends or routines I would miss during my year abroad. Why not live in the city that birthed
Q: You seem fascinated by other cultures and traveling the world. Is there something in particular that sparked this interest, or was it always innately there?
A: I never really traveled as a child, so the world outside my city has always been appealing, but unattainable. Being able to
live abroad for a year showed me just how easy it is to travel and just how incredible of an experience it is. I love change in
my life and traveling is an instant way to achieve that while still being true to myself and developing the person I want to be.
Actually, traveling is part of the reason I chose Marist. I’m from California, so coming to the East Coast for college seemed
like a great opportunity. Needless to say, I’m addicted now!
Q: So, you’re from California. How did growing up on the West Coast, but choosing to attend college on the East Coast have an effect on you?
A: It’s completely had an effect on me in so many ways. There is such a drastic culture change between the two coasts; it’s
actually quite shocking. Aside from the weather, the priorities people have over here differ extremely from those of the West Coast—and the pace of life is so different.
Q: Can you describe how the change in location has been drastic for you?
A: I feel like I am constantly out of my comfort zone, which at times is both scary and rewarding. Sometimes I do really miss
California—something I never experienced prior to living on the East Coast. Don't get me wrong though; the East Coast
definitely has some perks! It is always interesting to see different perspectives on life. I feel that college is the time in our lives
where we truly learn what we are made of, and who we want to be in life, and being in such a foreign environment, even though
it’s the same country, has really made me re-evaluate what I want out of life and how I want to go about getting it.
Q: You chose to major in English with a concentration in Writing. What led you to this choice? Did your experiences
living in Florence, or your experience of moving form the West Coast to the East Coast play a role in this decision?
A: I was a voracious reader as a child—probably a substitute for the lack of traveling—and always escaped into the world of
books as often as I could. Reading so much just led to being able to write naturally. I always enjoyed putting words to paper,
though I didn’t always want to be a writer.
All through high school I actually wanted to be a fashion designer, and in fourth grade I was solidly set on being a rock star.
Ha! I even studied Fashion Merchandising for a year and a half at Marist before finally admitting to myself that writing was
really the way I wanted to go. Traveling had a big impact on that. I realized I may love fashion, but I don't care for the material
world in a way I would have to in order to succeed in that industry. I felt like I wanted to actually evoke change in the world
around me, and that would happen a lot slower in fashion than it would in the field of English and writing.
This summer I am spending two months abroad in Europe working on organic farms in Ireland, France, and Hungary. I’m
also revisiting Florence before heading back to California. There I plan to substitute teach and save up enough money to
travel some more.
Q: You certainly have the travel bug. What kind of advice would you give to Marist students who are considering
A: Do it. You will never regret it and it will change your life—in the best way possible. I cannot push it enough.
as much as you can and for as long as you can. These opportunities to simply learn and absorb another country are few and
far between—don’t pass them up!