Mariam was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at George Washington University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term.
GET TO KNOW MARIAM
Tell us why you chose to study abroad.
I chose to study abroad because I’ve always imagined traveling to Europe, but I’ve never been able to find the right time or proper finances to go. As someone who was raised in two very different cultural standards and customs, I’ve also always been fascinated by the differences and similarities between various cultures and studying abroad in Italy would be an amazing opportunity for me to compare my upbringing and learn about others.
Tell us about your school, major, interests, clubs (you in a nutshell).
I have a pretty interesting academic background because I love many different areas of study. I’m currently majoring in psychology, but this past year, I’ve found myself drawn to consumer psychology, advertising, and public relations. Though I enjoy my coursework at George Washington University, where I’ve been a student for the past 3 years, I’m eager to take more advertising and PR related classes in Italy. The courses are so much more specific to my interests than what is offered at GW, which is a large reason why I decided on SAI Florence.
What are you most excited about re. studying abroad?
I’m most excited to finally travel outside North America and to have a taste of independence in a city as beautiful as Florence. I’m looking forward to having roommates for the first time, to adjusting to Italian customs, learning how people my age interact, and the likes. I’ve always been a bit shy and reserved, but the study abroad application process has pulled me out of my shell and the closer I get to the day of my flight, the more eager I become to just dive right into Florence and immerse myself in all it has to offer.
What are you most nervous about re. studying abroad?
My biggest concern is the language barrier. I have 6 years of French education, but no formal Italian education. For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking some time to practice my Italian pronunciation, understanding key phrases, etc. I’m confident that I will pick up some Italian while I’m abroad and hopefully can study further to become as fluent as possible.
What are three goals that you would like to achieve/accomplish while abroad?
I have many goals I’d like to achieve through the course of my time abroad. Number 1: I want to learn as much Italian as possible. It’s a beautiful language and I’m eager to learn from locals, from students in my class, and anyone willing to teach me. Number 2: Make at least 5 new friends whom I stay connected with for months, hopefully years after my time abroad is over. I know many people who have studied abroad and the part they find most rewarding is the friendships that they make during the course of their program. Number 3: Relax. I’m an East coaster, born and raised: I walk fast, talk fast, the whole nine yards. I want to take my time in Italy to really focus on my personal development, my health and wellness. Exploring, making friends.