Hey there, I’m Camille. I’m the SAI summer intern at the headquarters in Northern California. I was born and raised in Philadelphia (cue Fresh Prince theme song) and recently graduated from Muhlenberg College, where I studied Acting and Fine Arts, and worked as a barista. So… if the rumors are true about interns just doing coffee runs, I’ve got it covered. I’m really eager to see how a global education company functions, and I’m interested to work more in social media and marketing so that I can learn what attracts students to SAI, and what sets the brand apart from other companies with similar missions in International Studies.
I studied abroad through SAI at the Florence University of the Arts in spring of 2017 where I focused primarily on art history, drawing, Italian language and stuffing my face (with the best Italian food the city had to offer, that is). I come from a family of artists and fellow foodies, so I felt very supported and encouraged to study abroad in Firenze, one of the world’s most famous hubs for culture, food and art history. What I cherished the most about my SAI program was the support that was offered to me. Even for the most independent people, living in another country is hard, and presents unique challenges that can be emotionally very draining! With risk of sounding too cliche, I would even say that living in a new culture is so challenging because it forces us to confront who we really are without the comforts of familiarity. Yikes. Anyway! SAI served as a support system for me during my time in Firenze, and showed me how to make the most of living in a new culture and appreciate the journey as a learning experience.
One of my favorite things about living in Florence was my beloved neighborhood, Santo Spirito. It was in Oltrarno (what Italians call the neighborhoods across the river. Oltrarno literally translates to “The other side”) a bit further out from tourist attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. Santo Spirito is absolutely crawling with hidden treasures, local secrets and mom and pop eateries. If you want the best meal of your entire life, try out Osteria Santo Spirito. They are famous for their food but maintain a very cozy local vibe. Try the quattro formaggi truffle gnocchi… you’ll thank me later. Or if you’re in the mood for Pizza look no further than Gusta Pizza. It’s right around the corner from the piazza and they make the best pizza I’ve ever tasted… plus great prices for if you’re ballin on a budget like I was! If the chefs think you’re cute, you may even get your pizza in the shape of a heart.
Also, try a nocciola (hazelnut) gelato from La Carraia and eat it on the river! Eat everything! You will never regret an amazing Italian meal. You’ll be drooling about your food adventures long after you return home.
My advice to anyone getting ready to go abroad would be to keep an open mind, and try everything- even if it’s scary. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable and judgmental in an environment so different from home, but if you open yourself up to the possibilities of blending in with your host city, you will be surprised to see what amazing possibilities and connections await! Talk to your baristas, befriend your local neighbors, try a new coffee shop every day, go to a new museum every week, try ordering in Italian…the possibility are endless! Get out and explore, and embrace your discomfort. Netflix will be there when you get home.
Over and out!