Why did you choose this program? I chose this program because of its connection to IU and it provided the perfect time frame for me.
Describe your favorite classes abroad. My favorite classes abroad were Beginning Italian and History of Italian Art. It was exciting to learn a new language while abroad and my professor was fantastic. History of Italian Art gave me the opportunity to go to world famous museums each week to learn about the fascinating history of the Roman Empire through sculptures and paintings created by some of the most well-known artists of all time.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived in an apartment with three roommates near Piazza Santa Croce. Our location was close to many important landmarks including the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? The best advice I could give to a future study abroad student would be to travel as much as you can during your time abroad. Whether it is within your city or to other countries around the world, explore and learn as much as you can. Take the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the world outside of your comfort zone and you will come back from your journey changed for the better.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? My best memory from my time abroad was watching the sunset on the Cliffs of Algarve in Lagos, Portugal. The view was unlike anything I'd ever seen.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. I did not experience culture shock when I studied in Italy. Every new experience was exciting and I had a very easy time adjusting. However, coming home was much more difficult. I had a short adjustment period coming back whether it was getting used to the differences in food or trying not to say 'ciao' every time I spoke to someone.
“If I could do it over, I would…” I would have traveled to more cities in Europe. Studying abroad is a unique experience which occurs during college where you are granted a freedom that you may not get later in life. I wish I had traveled to more countries and cities while they were so easily accessible to me.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? Before I went abroad I thought it would be a lot more difficult to communicate in foreign countries. Many people in the major cities are fluent in English, and it made my travel experiences run a lot more smoothly than I expected.
What do you wish someone had told you before you left? I wish someone had told me to plan out my trips before I left for my semester abroad. Making travel plans can be a very long process, though exciting, and I wish I had done most of the legwork while I was preparing at home.
What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was adjusting to stores being closed for chunks of time during the day. In America, stores typically have hours that range from morning until the evening. In Italy and many other countries abroad, stores have a period of time during the day where they are closed. Each store has its unique set of hours and it was difficult to figure out which stores would be open at what times.