What’s your name? Caleb Crum
What school do you attend? Missouri State University (graduating in May)
Which program did you attend through SAI and when? I attended Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2014 semester.
What do you hope to accomplish during this summer internship? I hope to learn more about international education and study abroad. I consider this to be “getting my foot in the door” to an interesting and fun career field!
What did you love most about your experience with SAI Programs? The openness and friendly attitude of the staff! I started talking to SAI when I was a freshman in college and have developed relationships with a great deal of them. They are some of the friendliest and most helpful people and are very willing to go the extra mile to help students with any issues.
What is your best memory from your time abroad? I have a ton of favorite memories from my trip abroad. If I had to pick one, I would go with the weekend I spent in London. It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I wanted to travel somewhere that I’ve wanted to go for a long time (St. Patrick’s is my birthday, so I wanted to treat myself). Since I really don’t care for doing touristy things and seeing the “sites you HAVE to see”, I went and did things that I really wanted to do. There was a world famous saxophone store that I really wanted to go and jam at (I play saxophone, if you didn’t catch on) and so I spent a good 3 hours there jamming with other musicians. I did so many other things that didn’t include any real touristy activities. Although, I did take about 500 photos at the British Museum, so I guess you could call that being a tourist.
Do you have any funny travelling stories to share? I have a story that, when I look back on it, is pretty funny to me and quite a thriller! It was early in May and I had planned on going to a concert (Pentatonix) in Padova, which is a city near Venice. I got to the train station and tried to print off my train tickets, but it only printed off my return tickets from Padova. I tried talking to a station attendant, but she couldn’t figure out what went wrong. She told me to go ahead and board the train, since I had a reservation on the train and she thought it would be fine. I boarded the train and nervously found my seat (if you don’t have your ticket printed off, you can get a pretty hefty fine). The conductor was walking around to check tickets and finally made her way to me. I explained my situation to her and she seemed to understand. After that I thought I would be fine. We made a stop in Bologna and then another conductor made his rounds. He came up to me and asked me for my ticket. I told him the other conductor said that I was fine. He didn’t seem to understand very well, got irritated (so did I), and finally told me to give me 80 euro or he would kick me off. After that, we finally arrived in Padova, where I got off in an already exhausted mood. Luckily, I had about 3 hours to waste until I needed to take a cab to the arena where the show was. When I arrived at the arena, I quickly realized I was the only English-speaking person in the whole crowd (and this was a BIG crowd). Thankfully, I didn’t run into any situations where I would have to fully test my conversational Italian, at least before and during the show. After the show was over, I had to figure out how to catch a cab back to the train station, as I only had an hour and a half before my night train left. My phone had died earlier, so I asked a lady working at a pop-up bar outside of the arena if she could call me a cab. The cab company wouldn’t answer. So then I go to a worker directing parking traffic if he could call me a cab. Again, the company wouldn’t answer. Finally, another worker came up to the both of us and told us that if I wait by the street, then cabs would periodically drive by to pick up people from the arena. There were quite a few people waiting by the street, so I had to fight to get into a cab. When I got to the train station and boarded my train, I quickly realized that the night train and day train had totally different types of passengers. I had to sit on these tiny fold-down seats in the hall of the night train (all the cabins were full of sleeping people). There were two very shady looking guys that would periodically stare at me in slight confusion. I’m guessing that they didn’t understand why a random American was on that train. We had to make a stop at this random train platform that was completely abandoned and in the middle of nowhere, which at this point, I would take anything to be able to get up and get a few minutes away from the shady guys. I tried to keep my distance from those guys while we were at our stop. Lucky for me that there was a conductor standing outside of the train, otherwise I’m sure those guys would have tried something. After about an hour, we finally got back on the train and made it back to Florence early in the morning. I stumbled back to my apartment, completely exhausted, and then realized that I had to go to class. Let’s just say that I went to bed early that night.
What was your “go to” meal while abroad? Nearly every single day, I would go to this small sandwich shop near the Duomo, called Amorino Panino e Vino. They offered a menu of panini that were named after famous Florentines. My favorite was the Rucellai, which was a roast pork panino with a truffle cream spread. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve eaten a lot of things. (Side note: It’s on Via dei Servi, 16R if you want to check it out!)
What advice do you have to offer to those just embarking on their study abroad experience? I have a few pieces of advice: 1. Do some research about the place that you are studying abroad to. Read about the culture, history, food, etc. Anything that you can to help you gain a little more understanding about the place you are going to call home. 2. When you first get to your city, go get lost. This is the best way for you to stumble upon cool places that you might not find on a map (this is how me and my roommates found some secret bakeries). 3. Go out and do things on a whim. You don’t want to spend your whole study abroad experience sitting in your apartment/dorm and then you come back with no stories to tell. If you be adventurous and spontaneous, then you will have so many unforgettable memories and stories to tell, which is one of the best parts of studying abroad. And 4. Make friends with everyone that you meet. I remember being told that you may keep a few friends from high school and that the friends you meet in college will be your best friends. While that can be true, I have an amendment to make to it. You will keep a few friends from high school, the friends you meet in college will be some of your best friends, and the friends you make during study abroad will be your friends for a lifetime. Sharing a life-changing experience, like studying abroad, with other people creates bonds and memories that you will cherish always.