STUDYING ABROAD IN ITALY

unnamed-1Before arriving in Italy, I knew one other person. Brennen was the only other student I had known originally. Other than that, I barely talked to any of the other students during the two pre-departure meetings, which is definitely unlike me. It made me a bit more nervous but I kept in consideration that I do not struggle making friends. I am a communications major and because of this, studying abroad in Rome with this specific program was the perfect situation for me. I prepared for this program academically by purchasing the textbook that was mandatory. I glanced at the textbook a little before arriving in order to see how the class would look like. I also wanted to learn about Italian culture before arriving and the textbook was a great reference. For example, I learned that: “it is often argued that an Italian’s sense of geographical identity is more strongly based on a feeling of belonging to his or her town or village than it is on a sense of fellowship with other Italians,” (Italian Cultural Studies and Introduction, pg. 20). Reading that made me notice already a cultural difference. In America, we are not separated seperated as a nation. Along with reading bits and pieces of the textbook, I added the Duolingo app on my phone. My personal preparations included packing. I have already studied abroad (Semester at Sea), so therefore I have packing experience. But I noticed that I ended up packing very differently for this trip. This study abroad program is in July with really warm weather. I took into consideration that Julia told us specifically to not wear leggings, jean shorts and flip-flops. I did not bring any of those types of clothes because I did not want to stick out here in Italy. I also remembered her explaining to not wear the brightest colors. I packed many sundresses, skirts, tank tops etc. I did not have many cultural expectations for Italy. But I have been to Majorca Spain before and my parents explained to me that they felt it was similar to Italy in a cultural matter. Because of this, in a way I expected Italy to have the same time of feel. I also expected that the food would be incredible. I was looking forward to eating gelato and pasta every single day. I expected Italy be very hot because of it being summer and with the humidity.

I can pleasantly announce that I definitely ate gelato not only every single day, yet every minute possible!

Before arriving in Italy I spent three weeks in London (my last blog post explained a bit about that experience).

I did not know who my roommates would be, what the apartment will look like, or how tedious the schoolwork will be. This is normal to be anxious about, keep that in mind! 

I knew from studying abroad already, that I would feel content and more comfortable after seeing everything. I genuinely enjoyed my time in London and I was sad to leave. But at the same time, Italy was my next adventure to experience. I had never been to Italy before this but had heard such amazing stories. This made me so excited to experience the Italian culture for five whole weeks.

I had any easy time making friends from the beginning. My advice is to get to know every single person in the program right away and be open towards everyone! (Below is a photo of my new BFF Rachel that I made while I was studying in Italy). The relationships that are created while traveling are entirely different and in my opinion more special than any other!

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STUDYING ABROAD IN LONDON

I HIGHLY recommend studying abroad with your school and most specifically Colorado State University. I was able to spend four weeks last summer in LONDON taking CSU courses. I took a beginning theater class where we went to 13 different performances around London. My favorites were Aladdin and On The Town. Our work for the class was to write a critique about a specific theater performance that we went to and then present on another. It was neat to be able to see so many different venues in the “city of theater.” The buildings in London are incredible. I also was able to do an Independent Study where I journaled about culture and my experiences abroad. Here is one of my posts:

  • “June Fourteenth: I was so worried about being tired but actually I woke up with no problem at all! I enjoyed our groups guided tour through the main sites so very much. I had an easy time following along and understanding the guide. The most interesting part of the walking tour in my opinion was the “public school.” There is definitely a class difference here and London. Public schools are actually private and very expensive here in London. Many students who attend this type of school tend to get into Oxford and Cambridge. These students’ parents are wealthy and do well for themselves. I have always been interested in different types of schools and upbringings. Dr. Prince and I had an interesting discussion about how movie stars are similar. Many stars are passed down from generation to generation. For example, if your father or mother or aunt or uncle is in movies, you have a higher chance to be. This is an interesting aspect of culture. One of my other favorite parts of the walk was roaming through Saint James’ Park. It was absolutely beautiful and had the most incredible view of the London Eye from one side and the Buckingham Palace from the other. I really want to go back to that park. After the guided walk we grabbed some lunch and went to the Churchill War Rooms Museum. A fact I learned in particular was that Hitler believed that Churchill was an utterly amoral repulsive creature. That does not surprise me that Hitler would say something like that about Churchill. I have always been interested in this time of history with the war and everything. After the museum we went back to our flats to relax for a while and then went to the 42nd street performance. I loved it. I used to be a dancer so it was definitely my type of show. It was fun, upbeat and vibrant. When I arrived back at the flat I was exhausted but still had trouble falling asleep. I am still not used to the sleeping pattern here yet. I am always worn out yet I cannot sleep. Today was a wonderful day. I am falling in love with London.”

All in all, I highly recommend looking into different study abroad programs! Especially through your school because they are more affordable and usually put into play the scholarships that you already have with your school! I received SIX whole credits in FOUR weeks by traveling, admiring theater performances and learning about culture.

Semester at Sea

This program truly changed my life. I had always known that I wanted to go because my dad went when he was in college. When I was young (elementary school), I would study books all about culture and dream of traveling all around the world. Semester at Sea is a study abroad program where you travel around the world in one semester (4 months) on a ship! I went my Sophomore year Spring semester which was 2016. My itinerary was: San Diego, Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco and ended in England.FA16 (1)

It might sound silly but it definitely was a life changing experience. I think about it every single day. Now I work for the program! When I went on Semester at Sea, it was a University of Virginia sponsored program. But now we are affiliated with Colorado State University. I actually applied for the job that I have now with SAS when I was on the ship and I received the job when I got back! I work for Admissions. I enjoy my job so very much because I am still associated with the program. I am beyond passionate about my job. I promote Semester at Sea on campus (tabling: which means explaining what our program entails), I answer phone calls/emails, upload passports/transcripts etc.

If anyone is interested in Studying Abroad through the Semester at Sea program you can get more information from our website:
https://www.semesteratsea.org/ or… Call our office:  1.800.854.0195 or… email me: sydney.n.unger@gmail.com

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS

 

IMG_1204.JPGWhere will your next adventure be to?

That is a good question because now I have no idea…

Here are a “few” places I would enjoy visiting sometime in my life if I ever get the chance:

Dubai

Greece

Thailand

Tahiti

Virgin Islands

Peru

Croatia

Argentina

Egypt

Fiji

Finland

Ireland

Brazil

Laos

Abu Dhabi

Israel

Sri Lanka

Greenland

Slovenia

Cape Verde Islands

Cambodia

Malta

Serbia

Nevis

Rwanda

Portugal

Continue reading “THE ADVENTURE BEGINS”