We caught up with SAI Ambassador Courtney, who answers some questions about her time abroad.
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
My favorite thing to do in Florence was eating! The food was incredible and I tried so many new types of Italian cuisine. Every week I tried new restaurants with new friends which was a great way to get to know them over an exceptional meal. Florence has so much to offer when it comes to food! My favorite restaurant was Osteria Santa Spirito, everything on their menu was a true Italian meal not to mention delicious. Traveling throughout Italy and trying each regions specialty was a unique experience that really made my time abroad memorable. Looking back on my experience, the food is one of the things I miss most about Italy.
Share an example of how your international experience has improved your skills in communicating with others.
Being abroad in a country that did not speak English was very difficult when it came to communication. Luckily, this taught me to be patient with the locals who did not have great English and maybe didn’t understand what I was asking. Traveling throughout Europe taught me a lot about communication and understanding culture. Learning this skill was very helpful as I will be able to use this experience in the future when communicating with peers and colleagues.
What felt the most “foreign” to you when you came back to the U.S?
Driving felt the most foreign to me when coming back to the United States. After being abroad for four months, getting behind the wheel of a car felt so unfamiliar. In Europe I walked everywhere I went. I took trains and planes to far away places, and occasionally a metro. Even taking cabs was not a typical for my friends and me. The only driving I did in Europe was when I was in Greece, and we drove four-wheelers around the island of Mykonos, which was one of the most memorable things I did. I noticed that cars were not as common in Italy as they are in the United States and that other forms of transportation were relied on. Now that I have been back in the U.S for a few months now I miss how easy it was to get around Europe without a car.
Courtney was a spring 2018 SAI Florence student from the University of South Carolina.