Whitnie’s sister (left) and Whitnie (right) enjoy an Italian restaurant in downtown Milan during her sister’s surprise spring visit.
Overseas Study Program
Whitnie’s majors: English and Political Science
Term abroad: Spring 2008
Reason you chose this program: I chose Milan because it is an Italian speaking country and it’s a non-tourist city.
Favorite classes: My favorite class was Cultures and Cuisine in Italy. It was two days in a classroom and one day in a culinary studio. Everything was in Italian with top chefs in the nation. They taught us how to cook. After we made food, we’d eat it and drink espresso and talk.
Housing situation: I lived in an apartment with two Americans from New York and California. The apartment building was full of other Italians.
Best memory: Every Sunday we held dinners in our apartment for 15 of our closest friends.
Greatest challenge: The greatest challenge was speaking Italian on a daily basis. I was so scared to say something incorrectly, but as long as I was making an effort to communicate it was appreciated. It was hard getting over that fear.
Greatest surprise: The greatest surprise was how Italians reacted to Americans. They were so interested, but would try not to show it. They’re very private and dress formally.
What I wish I knew before I left: I wish I knew how much fun I would have because I would’ve gone for a year instead of a semester!
What I didn’t know that I know now: How much America affects the world. Our economy affects their economy. We interrelate with other countries more than we think. I was asked so much about politics. Their culture is so news-oriented.
Culture shock vs. reverse culture shock: With reverse culture shock, I came home and found myself always wanting to go back. Plus, I had to drive everywhere. I wasn't used to how inconvenient America is. It was really weird getting behind the wheel again. It was like re-learning how to drive.