Karisa was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2014 term. She is a current student at Baylor University studying at Siena Italian Studies in Italy during the Fall 2014 term.
Tell us why you chose to study abroad.
My passion for travel and culture developed at a very young age with my mom’s countless stories of her life in Germany during her time in the army. I became fascinated with the idea that there were children my age living all over the world, whose paths I would never cross, knowing and seeing and smelling and tasting things that were unknown to me. The never-ending mystery of faraway people and lands has inspired me to choose a future abroad which begins with my semester in Siena.
Tell us about your school, major, interests, clubs (you in a nutshell).
I will be entering my senior year at Baylor University as Sociology major and an Italian minor. My interests include (but are definitely not limited to) people, eating, movies/television/books/music, and animals. With that, it is easy to label me as a gluttonous, people watching, cat-loving couch potato. While much of that is exaggerated, it does not fall too terribly far from the true me.
While I am completely content with being alone (but not without a cat or dog) I really, truly, enjoy the company of others. Whether it is taking a day trip to discover new treasures in a favorite city with my best friend, or simply having a conversation with a patron at the museum that I work at, I love interacting with the people around me.
Eating for me is like a religion. I can only describe my first and last bites of something delicious, my culinary alphas and omegas, as sacred…sometimes I favor food more than people.
I am not particularly good at anything, I sometimes joke that I am not great at any one thing but instead that I am fairly average at multiple things. So, when I’m asked to name a hobby or interest, I just say that I am into entertainment. I am really very easy to please, so I can’t necessarily state my favorite author or movie, so it’s much easier to say it’s all kind of my “thing”.
I could talk about animals for hours but it is very important to know that, while I identify as a cat lover/person/lady, I LOVE dogs. I have had both cats and dogs in my house ever since I was born, with the exception of my freshman year in college (a very dark time in my life), so it’s hard for me to imagine a life without them.
(I have a tendency to overlook certain phrases like, “in a nutshell”)
What are you most excited about re. studying abroad?
I so badly want to answer this with a sentimental “making memories that will last a lifetime” response, but saying so would be dishonest. Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY excited to meet new friends from across the world and to travel to cities that some people spend their lives dreaming about visiting, changing my life indefinitely; but what am I MOST excited about? I am most excited about the food.
What are you most nervous about re. studying abroad?
I don’t necessarily fear the trip itself, but what I might forget while I’m abroad. I am afraid that in all of the excitement I might leave something tremendously important in the states, like enough pairs of clean underwear or my travel-size bottle of A1 Steak Sauce.
Oh, and I’ll miss my cat.
What are three goals that you would like to achieve/accomplish while abroad?
- Firstly, I hope to master the Italian language well enough to thoroughly impress my professors and embarrass my monolingual peers.
- Secondly, I wish to fill my cooking journal so full with authentic Italian recipes that I will have to fasten an additional clasp on the front and back cover just to keep it shut.
- Lastly, and most importantly, I plan to leave Siena with the confirmation that cultural immersion and international education are the surest and most efficient ways by which to teach compassion for others, and that compassion for others is the most valuable thing you can have.