Sunjay enjoys the view during an excursion to Siena, Italy.
Overseas Study Program
Sunjay’s majors: Finance, Economic Consulting, Public Policy
Term abroad: Summer 2010
Reason You Chose this Program: I wanted to immerse myself in a new culture where I would be put out of my comfort zone. I have always been interested in Renaissance culture and studying in Florence allowed me to explore my interests first-hand.
Favorite classes: My favorite class was Renaissance history where I was able to visit museums and cathedrals throughout Florence.
Describe the housing situation: We stayed in a hotel in downtown Florence. The location was perfect and the hotel had a great rooftop deck with a view of the famous Duomo in the city center. Breakfast and dinner on weekdays were provided by the hotel.
Best Memory: I went Skydiving and Canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland during a weekend trip. It was absolutely thrilling.
Biggest Surprise: I was able to develop relationships with local store owners during my time abroad. This really helped me immerse myself in the Italian culture and gain insight on running a successful business abroad.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: Everyone in Italy was very friendly and helpful.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would… try to learn some Italian before going on the trip. Although it is not necessary, knowing the local language can help make the experience much more enjoyable and interesting.
What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad: I would try to plan and establish a budget for my trip to Florence. It is difficult to realize how rapidly expenses add up until you have to pay the bill.
What I wish I knew before I left: I wish I knew more about art history so I could appreciate the sights I was seeing.
Greatest Challenge: Since I had taken my first Italian language course in Florence, it was initially difficult to use public transportation on our weekend excursions. In some areas in Italy, very few people speak English. However, I was able to develop my Italian speaking skills rapidly because of my exposure to the language.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: Life in Italy is much different than Bloomington in regards to the language and culture. When I was studying abroad, I felt like there was so much to do and see that I did not worry about sleep.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: Most people in Italy are very helpful and excited to meet Americans. Don’t be afraid to ask a local Italian if you have a question.