My semester spent in Italy were the best four months of my life.
Not only did I learn more about the world, and the cultures within it, but I learned so much about myself and made lifelong friends along the way. Every day in Italy was an adventure; whether I was trying a new cafe, or walking through Florence to get to class. I loved the laid back and genuine attitude of the Italians and that definitely stayed with me as I came back.
I absolutely loved every one my classes, especially the ones that emphasized Italian culture. I took a food, culture, and society class as well as a wine appreciation class. I was able to learn so much about the different regions of Italy and how deeply they appreciate food and wine. This made me develop a deep love and appreciation for Italians and their history of food and wine. I’m so happy I was able to learn so many authentic Italian recipes as well as which wines to adequately match them with! I also took social psychology, western philosophy, and beginning Italian. I loved every single one of my teachers but particularly my beginning Italian teacher because he made going to that class so much fun. I was able to learn a new language a lot easier than anticipated because of what an amazing teacher he was and how willing he was to not only work with his students at our own pace, but also let loose and make learning a fun experience.
Though I learned so much in all of my classes, I would say the majority of my learning took place outside of the classroom. One of my traditions was to go exploring on Tuesdays as I only had one short class. During these Tuesdays my friend and I would go to different museums, parks, or cafes, and integrate ourselves within the Florence community. We went to the Accademia and were amazed by the enormous David. We went to Boboli Gardens and admired the beautiful statues and fountains. We went to Marios and had delicious 6 euro pastas, and to Piazzale Michaelangolo to take in the whole city of Florence. All of these memories will forever stay with me.
The weekends were filled with excursions to places all over Italy and I am so grateful that I was able to see places like Lucca, Maremma, and Volterra which I hadn’t even known existed prior to studying abroad. SAI exposed me to a lot of hidden treasures that were so enlightening, as well as people who changed my life in ways I didn’t think imaginable. I was given so many opportunities to do things I would have otherwise never known existed, from jumping off rocks in the middle of the Mediterranean, to going into century old castles, to biking in a beautiful statued town. I am so grateful for being awarded a scholarship which made all of those positive experiences possible, and fulfilled one of my life long dreams of studying abroad.