Column of Babel: Marco From Italy

Courtesy of Cleo Tobi

When studying abroad, students often experience homesickness, but for Marco Maggia, Irvine has become more of his home than Padova, Italy.

Maggia has been working toward his PhD in aerospace engineering at UCI for the last three years and although he misses his family and friends, he cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Maggia did not always see himself studying abroad in the U.S., let alone permanently living here. He was introduced to the Education Abroad Program (EAP) by a friend and thought a semester in the States would be fun.

“Everyone likes my city but I was bored,” Maggia confessed, “I never felt belonging to that place. Here, I feel better.”

When he first arrived to UCI, Maggia attempted to join Phi Gamma Delta, but being 24 at the time, he found their activities too childish and left the fraternity within the first few weeks. He did not pursue to get involved in any clubs or sports on campus, but has no trouble finding entertainment at the ARC and at the Anthill Pub & Grille.

Maggia enjoys the structure of the campus and likes that young people surround him wherever he goes. Above all, Maggia adores his professors at UCI.

“They actually talk to you,” Maggia said, “They care about you.”

It was a professor in the engineering department that asked Maggia to come back to UCI to continue his research. There are more opportunities to progress in the aerospace field in the U.S. than in Italy and Maggia looks forward to the chances that await his graduation in 2015.

The environment isn’t the only thing Maggia finds warm and inviting. He loves the people and their welcoming smiles. Although he occasionally misses his friends, family, subsidized healthcare, and Italian food, Maggia without hesitation calls Irvine home.