Max Rogozienski

student photo

My name is Max Rogozienski. I am an Astrophysics major at UC Santa Cruz. I studied abroad for my third year at Universitat de Barcelona in the fall of 2022, and King’s College London in the winter and spring of 2023. I am a working-class student, and I have always been very grateful for financial aid. When I decided to go abroad, my parents were so excited for me to live in two cities they had never been to before. I also knew it was a priority to look into financial assistance opportunities. I discovered the Gilman Scholarship Program via the Global Learning team and am eternally grateful for finding it. I likely would not have been able to go abroad if it wasn’t for the Gilman Scholarship Program. It is very inspiring to me to know that funding like this is available to future students, especially those with limited financial means. My funding journey is one of a couple of experiences I will do my best to summarize. 

Growing up in Hillcrest, a town just outside of San Diego, I have always craved the lifestyle of living in a city. When I left for Spain and Europe, I was nervous, excited, and a little confused about what to expect. When I arrived, all sorts of unforeseen events happened within the first 24 hours. I was alone, I was hungry, and I had to learn quickly! In time, I felt comfortable speaking with locals, and was friendly and cautious with strangers. Though I didn’t meet lifelong friends on the trip, I learned vital lessons about how to not just live alone, but to be alive alone. It was quite an amazing thing to feel so free. In Barcelona, I lived in the center of the oldest part of the city alone on the fifth floor in an apartment that was built in 1890 with local Spanish families on every floor below. Spanish all around.

I was privileged to be experiencing something completely unique, living on my own in a diverse city. I felt inspired every day to grow and to make more art than I ever had before because I was observing, listening to, and seeing more art than I ever had at one time. It was truly a magical artistic personal journey for me. If you want to grow as a university student, studying abroad facilitates that and may give you a peek into life after university as it did for me. I met great friends I am still in touch with, memories I will never forget, and the best part was when my time in Barcelona was over, I still had one more experience abroad left to live. 

When I left for London, it felt like I was starting over and it was an emotional experience. By the time I was a couple of months into my semester, I had already made new friends, and was able to visit countless museums. London truly is a metropolitan city and I learned this as I became acquainted with the rich culture and abundant art institutions throughout the city. It was clear that I was receiving the most well-rounded education possible while taking Physics classes at King’s College London, one of the most famous universities in the history of Physics. 

In London, I went through an Academic Identity Shift due to my classes. During my first two years at UC Santa Cruz, I was taking many different classes and having difficulty deciding on a major. At King’s, I was on a strict academic schedule with two Physics classes that I needed to pursue Astrophysics. I felt re-energized studying Physics again, receiving my first “A” in a Physics course This shift empowered me to finally decide to pursue Physics as a major. 

Studying abroad helped me feel the true diversity that life has to offer. I never knew how accessible it was until I studied abroad. There are so many wonderful experiences to be had in so many different spaces while you are attending a university. The important part is listening to yourself and following your path to the place where you want to be and dream to be. I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to anyone who seeks to open their horizon to exciting opportunities. I am eternally grateful for it. I believe studying and living somewhere outside of your comfort zone can be an important lesson in being unique by being you.

Last modified: Jun 04, 2024