Studying Abroad: Where I Met my Fiancée

As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, CEA is gathering two decades worth of interviews and insights from alumni. CEA alumni Adam Ellis tells the story of how he found his soulmate while studying abroad in Florence, Italy.

I spent a semester at the CEA Florence Center on a whim. I was just as likely to sign up as I was to throw away the brochure that an eager alumni handed out to our class. Looking back, I can confidently say that studying abroad my junior year was the best decision of my life.

When I landed in Italy I didn’t know any of the other students in the program. My first great surprise of CEA’s program was finding out how willing the other students were to make friends. Within the first two weeks, a group of four girls from the University of Arizona took me and my roommate in as a part of their group. I took classes, traveled Europe, and ate my way through Italy with this incredible group of friends I would never have known had it not been for CEA.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Florence

Adam and Chelsea while overseas.

The more we all traveled together, the closer we got. I had spent two full years at Cal Poly and the bonds I made in a few short months in this program were fuller and richer than any I had in my college experience so far. One bond in particular stood out above the rest: Chelsea. Our connection was instant from the moment we met and continued to strengthen with every trip we took together. I grew more and more enamored with her as the quarter went on and found that not only was I loving the experience of living in another country and studying their culture, I was falling in love with the women I would one day marry.

We left Florence as close friends and continued to stay in touch. After graduating college, we were both in California and before long started dating. The bond we had built from studying abroad fell into place so naturally in the form of our relationship, both of us wondered why it had never happened earlier.

A year later I proposed to the girl of my dreams: the girl I met during my first week of studying abroad. This program has influenced my life in the most important way possible, by uniting me with my soulmate. While everyone who studies or interns abroad with CEA may not have the same experience as mine, taking the chance to find the love of my life while discovering a love of travel is the best decision I have ever made.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Florence

Adam and Chelsea now.

Adam E. is a CEA alumni. He studied at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and studied abroad with CEA in Florence in 2013. He is currently a business consultant at Accenture.

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