Claire was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at University of Mary Washington studying at Sant’Anna Institute (SA) in Sorrento, Italy during the Fall 2015 term.
Years ago, I knew I wanted to study abroad. I have always loved the idea of wandering and exploring. I grew up on both coasts of the States, and spent some time in Central American countries. The changing places and faces truly shaped me. I had given up on my study abroad dream due to some ambitious academic goals, but at last minute, decided to prioritize this once-in-a-lifetime chance. I chose Italy for several reasons. My father’s family is Italian, second generation, and I’ve loved that part of my identity since I was very young — the random Italian lingo around my house, talking with your hands, the endless food. Fittingly, my family name means “snack” in Italian. I’ve always wanted to go and uncover that part of my legacy. And Sorrento sounds like an incredible town, so authentic and alive and unique.
Tell us about your school, major, interests, clubs (you in a nutshell).
I’m a senior at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. I’m a Psychology and English major, minoring in Digital Studies (which is basically an exploration of digital tools & culture). I LOVE people, and exploring the things that make them unique. My hobbies include literature, blogging, and music (I play four instruments and sing). I’m especially passionate about photography! I’m looking forward to some great photo opportunities in Italy.
I’m so excited for the ways that this experience will mark me forever. Everyone I know who has studied abroad still carries little echoes of their host city with them. I long to be a well-rounded, confident, bold, creative person. I’m excited for my study abroad to begin to stretch me into that person. Traveling isn’t just taking pictures and buying souvenirs, though that part is pretty fun. I want the authentic experience – connecting with people, unearthing new sides of myself, leaving pieces of me where I go.
What are you most nervous about re. studying abroad?
I have always been a little on the shy side. Since relationships are so important to me, I’m scared about not knowing anyone or being able to communicate at all. I’m hoping I pick up some Italian pretty quickly! It all seems like such a dream, but it’s also scary. Italy is both a big part of who I am, and incredibly foreign to me.