We caught up with SAI Ambassador Sophia, who reflects on her time in Florence.
What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
While abroad I learned a lot about friendship. And one of my favorite memories was during the SAI farewell dinner. At the beginning of my experience I was nervous to attend events where I didn’t know the people, but overtime I grew a strong relationship with the group. SAI held events all throughout the semester that you could attend, and I was determined to go to as many as possible. As the farewell dinner approached a big screen was put up to reflect upon the semester with a series of photos. And there I was a countless number of times with new friends and staff with the biggest smile on my face. It was there where I realized Florence and the people I had meet will hold a place in my heart forever. It was by far my most favorite memory.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Here is my advice. Don’t be set in your ways. I know it is hard to think about and even harder to complete, but do not be stuck in your usual habits. When going to the grocery store don’t try the foods you know you like or recognize at home. I made this mistake up until the last few weeks I had there. I would get the same bagged bread every time I went to the grocery store because it was familiar to me. Then I realized I can be getting fresh bread from the bakery that will taste even more better and connect me with the culture. Try new things, be adventurous, and be willing.
How has studying abroad changed/shaped your future career goals?
As I closed the door on my study abroad experience in Florence, I opened a new door of adventure and self-endearment. I now see my future more clearly through my time here. As a fashion communication major, I did not know exactly where I wanted to go next after graduation. However, I know now that I want to do a graduate program and I want to do it abroad. My study abroad experience was so eye opening it made me realize all I have yet to see and learn. I want to take a side step away from fashion and focus on global communication, so I can get an even better sense of communicating on a wider scale.
What did you learn about yourself when you were abroad? How have you changed?
I always talk about going somewhere my whole life. And for a brief time, I didn’t think I was going to be able to get here. But now I have been to six different countries with my study abroad experience alone. If I learned anything about myself, it’s that I am capable of more than what I think I am. I learned that for every doubt in my head are twice as more positive outcomes. There’s too little time in the day to be doing the same thing in the same place. I have changed because instead of saying ‘I am glad I went’ I now say, ‘When can I go back?’
Sophia was an SAI Florence fall 2017 student from Lasell College.