Why did you choose this program? I am an art student who hasn't had very many chances to leave Indiana, so when I heard about an art program overseas I kind of went insane trying to make it work.
Describe your favorite class abroad. My watercolor class was so entirely challenging. I had never worked with that medium before, and I had always avoided landscapes. It really stretched me as an artist.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived in a small hotel room with three other girls. It was fun for the most part. The hotel was on the fourth floor of a building one street over from the Duomo in Florence. It was very homey, and the grouchy gentleman who ran the hotel was very helpful.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Go into it early! Communication between the Overseas office can be tricky at times, and require a lot of patience. Things can be turned around on you in a second so check on your paperwork all the time.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? I was sitting on top of a mountain we had climbed building a rock fort. It was so peaceful and warm, and then out of all of the peace, one of my instructors handed me ice cream. I mean come on. Nature and sweets.
What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? I wasn't expecting all of the selfie sticks.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. I've always been aware of the European turmoil concerning gypsies. I just never understood what it was like to face it. Human beings telling me not to make eye contact with other human beings. While I still don't understand the hatred flowing both ways, I can say there is a problem when you can't look a person in the eye.
“If I could do it over, I would…”I would have saved even more money. It was really expensive. TOTALLY WORTH IT, but by the end I was on a fiscal diet.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I didn't know that I could do it. I was so frightened.
What do you wish someone had told you before you left? I wish someone had told me you can't sleep on planes.
What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was being alone somewhere I didn't know. I struggled with being brave.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” I went during the summer to avoid the troubling question between going abroad and staying on campus. I didn't want to miss out on either experience, so I chose both.
Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? Make sure when scholarships vaguely describe GPA requirements that they mean cumulative GPA, some of them may mean your major GPA!