What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
My favorite memory from study abroad would definitely be the Gelato festival in Florence. It was held at the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, a panoramic scene to behold. This festival was a competition among 30 plus gelato chefs, for the most innovative gelato flavor. The experience of trying inconceivable combinations of gelato flavors was an incredible sensation, it literally was a gelato party in my mouth!
What was your favorite class abroad and why?
I studied at Florence University of Arts, and one of my favorite classes was international marketing. While the name sounds ordinary, the course was the complete opposite! Our professor inspired us to think out of the box, and pushed us to come up with extremely creative final projects. The purpose of the project was to introduce Pasta Fabri (I highly recommend trying this brand) to an international market, using the methods and tools we acquire from class. While International Marketing is available at my resident university, I am glad I decided to do it with SAI in Italy, The experience I attained, it has helped broaden my perspective on marketing strategies.
How has studying abroad changed/shaped your future career goals?
Like many, I am yet to decide on a definitive path to pursue for my career. My experience of volunteering at a public school, teaching english to fourth graders not only expanded my options, but on the contrary it helped me discover key aspects that I would like incorporated in any career I choose to pursue. Interacting with children has always been a pleasure, and I have overcome my fears of public speaking with this opportunity. As a result of study abroad, I am sure that in the future my occupation will revolve around children, either through fashion or art therapy.
What has your experience taught you about the world?
It has made me more open-minded and curious about discovering and understanding more cultures. It has made me realize that no matter where I am, whatever language barrier or cultural differences there are, if you really want to be a part of a foreign culture you can always find a way to fit in, yet stand out. When traveling to different cities and countries, being open-minded is key, because there are more similarities between you and them than you think there are. It truly is memorable when you indulge in other cultures, and I feel it is only possible if you try behaving like them, in terms of food, travel and way of life. Like they same, “in Rome, do as the Romans do!”
Do you have any tips for learning the language while students are abroad?
Be extremely excited to learn, because you will get a whiff of it as soon as you reach the destination! I would suggest taking the language crash course that the host university offers, downloading google translate on your phone and looking forward to the many small local interactions. It is with the local interactions at grocery stores, street vendors and local people that really help you engage with the language and culture! So every time you learn something new I would make a note of it, either on your phone or in a little notebook.
Tanvi was a spring 2019 Florence student from Parsons School of Design.