12 Things I Learned Abroad

I wish I could have had internet access to blog during my time abroad this summer in Florence. But unfortunately, internet access was hard to come by in the city. So, because of this, I thought I’d upload an email I was able to send to my family about what I had noticed and learned while being a part of a different culture.

12 Things I’ve learned in Italy

1. Weather in Italy, like the bus system, is totally unpredictable. One minute we’re studying Art History in the sun on Piazza Signoria, and the next we are soaked as the sky decides it is time to hail all over us. The 40 minute walk home in the rain was… wet.

2. I have really come to appreciate American men and American bathrooms. Many of the ones here are dirty and inappropriate. Except when it is conveniently Men’s Fashion week in Florence and the collection venue is right across from where I have classes.

3. Watching dubbed Italian television and movies with my housemates is hilarious and actually really helps my understanding and comprehension of the language. Dubbed Italian is slower and very formal, without any regional dialect difference. Spending time watching movies became great practice and a way to also learn new vocabulary.

4. On that same note, Italians have a strange passion for Walker Texas Ranger. Or maybe Berlusconi does, because it is on every night and he controls all the TV channels.

5. I am going to miss the three course meals cooked by my Homestay nona, Mama Pia. Every night we have a pasta course, a meat and vegetable course, and then dessert.

6. I love how a gelato a day is totally acceptable here. The key when looking for a gelateria is to look at the banana flavored gelato. If the color of it is bright yellow- WALK AWAY. Authentic banana gelato will be gray without color die. If you find gray banana gelato, you can trust the quality of the entire store.

7. The Jersey Shore is in Florence. That is all I have to say.

8. I have created my own hybrid Sofia language. It combines English, Spanish, Italian, extreme hand gestures, and strange sound effects. People seem to understand me somehow though.

9. Sitting in the Piazza Santa Croce with hundreds of Florentines while watching Notre Dame de Paris was breathtaking. People hung out of the windows of surrounding buildings just to see the Italian remake of the French opera. Being a part of that night was one of my top experiences in Florence.

10. My roommate Sally buying Harry Potter in Italian gave us the sad revelation that the translators have changed all of the characters names. Albus Dumbledore becomes Albus Silente in Italian?! I mean, really?

11. Studying Art History in the birthplace of the Renaissance is unparalleled. I can’t count how many times I have stumbled upon a masterpiece by Fra Angelico or Masaccio totally by chance. The pieces take my breath away.

12. Italy is beautiful. City life can be crowded and hectic and at times- expensive and confusing- but I am really, truly happy here.

Studying abroad through the W&M Reves center has been an incredible experience. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity so soon in my college career. I hope you will take the chance to study abroad for the summer or an entire semester. I would definitely recommend going to Italy to study, experience a new culture, and live it up in Florence.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Student Blogs, Study Away
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