Ciao a tutti! My name is Elise Walsh and I’m a biotechnology student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Currently I’m studying at the Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy and I’ll be writing this blog about my experiences! Today, I’m going to focus on traveling to Italy and my first classes.
I’d been to Italy before in high school, but I had only been there for about a week. This time I’ll be here for five weeks! The first challenge, of course, was packing. My academic advisor at RIT gave me some really good advice: start packing a few weeks in advance and try to limit what you bring every week. By the time you’re ready to leave, you’ll only take what you really need. This is important because of suitcase weight limits when flying. Now that I’m here, I realized that I still over-packed, but it’s definitely better than it would’ve been if I hadn’t left things behind. The second challenge was the flights. I’d never flown alone before, so it was intimidating to have an international flight as my first solo flight. That being said, I felt that it was a lot easier once I actually got to the airport than I convinced myself it would be. The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it! The airport personnel were very helpful at all three airports I went through and it really made things less overwhelming.
Once I arrived in Italy, I was absolutely blown away! I had forgotten how beautiful the country really is – it’s almost like living in a painting. The people in Sorrento are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They’re more than happy to help you learn the language and find your way around the city. Italian food is incredible as well! So far, I’ve tried pizza, pasta, and local sea food. Che delizioso! I’m not sure if I’ll ever fully enjoy food again when I return home.
The main reason that I’m here, however, is to study. While in Sorrento, I am taking two courses for college credit: Elementary Italian and History of the Mafia. As someone of Italian heritage, I’m very interested in learning more about the language and culture. Unfortunately, scheduling for my major is pretty rigid, so I haven’t been able to take any classes at RIT. So far, I have had one class of Elementary Italian. The class is primarily taught in Italian which is not what I expected. However, the professor makes sure that you are understanding the material and will clarify in English if necessary. I feel that this complete immersion is a much better way to learn a new language than the way it would be taught in America. I still have a few days until my History of the Mafia course, but I’m really looking forward to see how that will be taught!
All in all, being it Italy is an absolute dream come true! I’m so grateful to SAI and the Sant’Anna Institute for making this a reality. I can’t wait to see what else Sorrento has to offer! Arrivederci for now!
Elise is a summer 2017 SAI Sorrento student from Rochester Institute of Technology.