Communications grad made most of time at ASU

Sophia in front of the Global Education Office

Sophia Baldino poses outside the Global Education Office in the Student Services Building on ASU's Tempe campus.


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

During her time at ASU, Sophia Baldino took advantage of the wide breadth of global education opportunities ASU offers.

Baldino will be graduating with her degree in communication through the Hugh Downs School of Communication within The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this May. 

Baldino moved from New Haven, Connecticut, to pursue her degree at ASU. Baldino spent her full junior year studying abroad, visiting six different countries on four different continents through the Open Campus program.

Open Campus allows students to study abroad and rotate locations every six weeks. Like many students, Baldino originally planned to study abroad for just one semester, spending six weeks each in Rome, Italy; London, UK; and Paris, France.

However, while studying abroad Baldino decided to extend her program into the next semester to study abroad in Sydney, Australia; Cape Town, South Africa; and Monteverde, Costa Rica. 

Upon returning to ASU, Baldino continued to grow her global skill set through some of the career-readiness programs offered through the Global Education Office: a Global Virtual Internship and the Global Career Accelerator.

Baldino gained skills in Digital Marketing through the Global Career Accelerator, and then applied them in her Global Virtual Internship. She was a remote marketing intern for Eden Towers, a vertical farming company based out of Perth, Australia, one of Baldino’s favorite locations she visited when studying abroad in Australia. Baldino’s wide variety of global education experiences improved her intercultural communication skills to work professionally between countries. 

Baldino gives back to other ASU students considering studying abroad as a student recruiter for the Global Education Office. There, she mentors other students through the process of studying abroad, answers their questions, shares her own experience and helps other students feel prepared and excited about their upcoming global education experience. 

Note: Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Question: Why did you decide to study abroad while attending ASU?

Answer: I started at ASU as a freshman during COVID, where everything was on Zoom. I originally was a business student, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I really struggled during my first two years finding my direction academically and personally. I needed a change and studying abroad was the perfect opportunity to find my academic and future career. I couldn’t pick just one place, and with Open Campus you can visit three different places. So I thought, I’ll spend my fall semester abroad, and see where that takes me! And it was while I was abroad, I discovered I wanted to change my major to communication.

Q: What was a favorite memory of your study abroad program?

A: I would say one of my favorite memories was the spontaneous adventures me and my roommate would take. We tried to visit as many beaches in Australia as we could. We ended up taking an hour and a half long bus to an island off the coast of Sydney. We got hungry, and bought dinner to eat on this beautiful beach we found. Studying abroad taught me to let go sometimes and just let the day take you where it takes you, and see what new unexpected things are around the corner. 

Q: What was one thing you took away from studying abroad?

A: One thing I took away from studying abroad was appreciating other people’s cultures and growing my understanding of different ways of thinking. I learned that the way you think is not how everyone else thinks. By studying abroad in six countries, I was able to experience so many different cultures and see what makes them all different, but also how to adapt to living in each. Whether that culture was like Italy, where people have a more flexible schedule, or there was a greeting culture I learned about. I feel like in my interactions with people now, I am much more in tune with them. 

Q: What advice would you give to students thinking about studying abroad?

A: I would say to set up a peer advising appointment with a recruiter in the Global Education Office. Just because I didn't do that before I studied abroad and I feel like I could have gotten so much more insight into what it’s like to study abroad and their advice. It also gets you more excited to go. But make sure you do your research on the place you’re going to, so you can have an idea of what to expect, but also to find out what you want to see while you’re there!

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: One thing I learned is that as you get older, hard things will come your way and you have to figure out how to deal with them. I learned how to overcome challenges independently, just simply by being so far away from home. My study abroad program helped me become such a better problem solver. There are things that happen when you’re abroad that you need to learn how to figure out on your own. Like there was a time when I got on the wrong bus and I ended up an hour away. I figured out how to get back by myself in a place that doesn’t speak English, and I am much more confident in navigating situations now.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My biggest piece of advice would be to talk to your professors. I know it can be a little scary to raise your hand in class, especially in quiet lectures, but your professors are your resources and they are there to help you learn. You can always talk with them after class too if you’re too intimidated. It took me until this semester to feel comfortable asking questions, and I wish I did it sooner.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would make education more affordable and accessible for everyone. Just being able to attend ASU from Connecticut was such an amazing opportunity, plus I was able to study abroad too. The education I’ve gotten has helped me in so many ways. I want everyone to have the opportunity for a higher education without worrying about their financial situation. So if I had $40 million dollars, I would give scholarships to as many students as possible.

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