Tiffany was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at University of Missouri studying at Siena Italian Studies (SIS) in Siena, Italy during the Fall 2015 term.
GET TO KNOW TIFFANY
Tell us why you chose to study abroad.
There are plenty of reasons why I am choosing to study abroad. While I was in high school, I won a scholarship to study abroad for a year in Germany. It was the best year of my life. It changed the direction of my future and I gained so much from the experience. I can now speak German fluently and my accent is barely noticeable, I gained many new friends, I matured a lot, and I created a strong bond with my host family. I still have contact with my host family and many friends from my exchange and I try to visit them in the summers. This experience still affects me in many ways today; I am now always trying to make international friends to learn about their culture and try to learn about their language. This is one big reason that I am choosing to study abroad once again. I want to get lost in a foreign culture again and learn how other people live. Another big reason is that I would like to learn another language and I find that I learn better and more efficiently when I am immersed in the language and culture.
Tell us about your school, major, interests, clubs (you in a nutshell).
At the University of Missouri, I am currently majoring in German and Linguistics with a minor in Italian. I love to travel, especially to places that are not as glamorized in the media. I have a fascination with languages. Whenever I hear someone speaking a language that is not English, I am automatically intrigued. I want to figure out which language it is and I want to try to speak it. I am constantly watching films in other languages and downloading new language apps onto my phone, so that I may learn the basics in a new language. I also enjoy doing arts and crafts in my free time. Another interest of mine is comedy; I made sure to watch the comedy groups at my university when they would perform each week. It was always one of the best parts of my week. As for clubs, I was in a few my last year, but most of my time was taken up by my job as a Residential Assistant in the dorms. I was in German club and I participated in a few different organizations to assist international students. I was a cultural ambassador, so I helped new exchange students settle into their new surroundings and was there for them throughout the semester. I also had two language partners, which were international students, who I would meet with each week to help them practice their English and learn about American culture.
What are you most excited about re. studying abroad?
I am most excited about meeting my host family. My host family will likely be a very big part of my exchange. They can help me learn about the culture, practice my Italian, and meet new Italian friends. A positive experience with my host family can have a huge impact on my time in Italy.
What are you most nervous about re. studying abroad?
I am definitely most nervous about learning the language. I have taken 3 semesters of Italian at my university, but I do not feel like I really know much of the language. I am hoping to start speaking only in Italian soon after I arrive and not feel too nervous to make mistakes. My classes will be taught in English at the beginning, but will then transition throughout the semester and end up being taught completely in Italian. This is also nerve-racking to think about, so I am hoping to pick up the language fairly quickly.
What are three goals that you would like to achieve/accomplish while abroad?
- I want to make myself speak as little English as possible. This will be a hard goal for me to accomplish in the beginning, but I am hoping my classmates will have the same goal, so we can all help each other. By the end of my exchange, I want to be able to speak Italian fluently. To make that possible, I will need to throw myself into the language.
- I would like to have a good relationship with my host family. I hope to get along with them and talk through any problems that may come up. I would like to keep in touch with my host family after I finish my exchange and be able to call them my second family.
- I would like to make many Italian friends. What I notice when I hear about others at my university who have studied abroad, is that they have made many new international friends, but not many friends of the nationality of the country they were actually in. I love to make international friends, but my main goal in Italy is to learn about the Italian culture, while it is readily available. I hope to make many new friends, international included, but at the end of my exchange, I want to be able to say that I was a part of the Italian community.