Kate’s Semester Overseas in Florence, Italy

Doing a examine overseas program is usually a life-changing expertise. Simply ask Katie, a school pupil from the College of North Carolina Wilmington and an AIFS Overseas Alumni Ambassador who spent a spring semester learning within the Italian metropolis of Florence.

“Selecting to check overseas in Italy was by far among the finest choices that I’ve ever made in my life. My expertise by AIFS Overseas in Italy was uplifting and rewarding in some ways. This system’s included discipline journeys, meal plan, and course choice all immersed me into the true Italian tradition. One piece of recommendation I can provide anybody who’s contemplating going overseas — or perhaps you’ve got already made the choice to take action — is to DO IT! Do all of the issues and take the ‘threat.’ You’ll thank your self later!”

Katie, AIFS Overseas in Florence, Italy alum from UNC Wilmington

Now that she’s formally a part of our alumni neighborhood, Katie can mirror on her examine overseas expertise. Learn on to listen to all about it in our latest interview together with her.

Interview with Katie, AIFS Overseas in Florence, Italy alum from UNC Wilmington

Introducing Kate

Q: Hello everybody! I’m right here with my new interviewee at the moment. So go forward and introduce your self.

A: Hello, I’m Katie. I’m going to highschool at UNC Wilmington. I’m learning Political Science. After I studied overseas I went to Florence, Italy. I used to be there for the spring semester.

Why Florence?

Q: Why did you choose that program and why did you wish to go to Florence?

A: So I wished to go to Florence as a result of I knew that I didn’t wish to go to Rome and I didn’t wish to be in a tremendous busy metropolis. I do know Florence has gotten extra common in the previous few years however it’s not as demanding as Rome. I additionally simply favored the thought of the completely different excursions that have been supplied on the Florence spring semester, so I’m very glad that I selected it.

Setting Targets and Expectations

Q: In order you look again in your time overseas, did you set any tutorial or private objectives for your self? And for those who did, did you obtain these objectives or make any progress with them?

A: I don’t know if I essentially set any tutorial objectives simply because my examine overseas — I used to be fortunate sufficient to the place I actually simply took enjoyable courses. I didn’t essentially want to satisfy any main necessities as a result of I had time to take form of a break whereas nonetheless learning. However for private objectives, being overseas actually gave me extra confidence in myself and allowed me to be extra unbiased. I’m already a really unbiased individual, however once you transfer throughout an ocean from your loved ones, it actually offers you extra independence. And I used to be in a position to actually thrive off of that. I believe that was type of a private objective that I had set, to only permit myself to be myself by myself.

View of the Duomo in Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Private & Tutorial Development

Q: Is there one thing that you just realized in your program that you just assume you perhaps wouldn’t have for those who didn’t examine overseas?

A: Effectively, if I didn’t examine overseas I most likely wouldn’t have ever realized the language, the Italian language. And I’m not good at it however I’m glad that I attempted and studied a little bit little bit of it. If I didn’t examine overseas, that wouldn’t have occurred. I additionally wouldn’t have realized that there’s a lot alternative on the earth. After I grew up in the identical city that I’ve lived in my total life till I went to school, which remains to be in the identical state, rising up I went to the identical — I lived in the identical home, by no means actually went by a lot change. I type of grew up in a little bit little bit of a bubble and I didn’t notice that not solely are there different nations on the market however there’s even different states which might be completely different. Life are so completely different throughout the state, the world over, throughout the nation. I’m actually glad that I used to be in a position to expertise that as a result of I believe if I didn’t I’d have been caught on this bubble for the remainder of my life. As a result of I do know some those that have by no means had the chance to journey or simply by no means took benefit of it and are nonetheless caught in that bubble. And I believe that they’d be capable to perceive my expertise extra in the event that they traveled and noticed the world by their very own eyes and personal perspective.

aifs abroad student eating gelato in florence, italy during semester abroad
Kate having fun with scrumptious gelato in Florence, Italy

Talent and Expertise Development

Q: So once you’re overseas, we all know that sure skills or strengths can develop [because] they’re in a brand new setting, new setting. Did you discover that any of your skills or abilities type of began to come back out or shine when you have been overseas?

A: So I discussed earlier that I’m an unbiased individual and earlier than going overseas I already was. I like my independence, I thrive off of my independence. I studied overseas my sophomore 12 months of school. So my freshman 12 months and fall semester of sophomore 12 months I had independence and I used to be away from house and I used to be in faculty and simply doing my factor, however I by no means had the independence that dwelling overseas gave me. It gave me, “journey everytime you wish to,” you realize? I believe my independence is a power of mine. In order that, I really feel like, is one thing that basically shined whereas I used to be overseas. And I additionally wasn’t very assured earlier than going overseas. I believe I bought confidence by simply going out and being unbiased — like my independence gave me that confidence. After I got here again it it type of light away a little bit bit, however I’m engaged on getting again to the place I used to be with my confidence.

aifs abroad student enjoying pasta in florence, italy
Kate having fun with a conventional pasta dish in Tuscany

Discovery By Cultural Immersion Overseas

Q: Did you discover that when you have been overseas assembly different individuals with completely different backgrounds or cultures — [were] there any challenges or any alternatives to study when you have been overseas with the variations in backgrounds?

A: I believe the European way of life on the whole may be very completely different from the American. I do know Italians can have a stereotype of simply being very sluggish and taking the day as sluggish as they will and simply making the most of the day. They’re by no means in a rush, except they’re driving, they’re by no means in a rush. They’re simply dwelling their life and I beloved that. It was difficult to come back again from it. That I discovered to be most difficult as a result of I don’t wish to at all times be like go go go go go, however I needed to so as to match again into the American way of life.

One other problem was simply the language. I believe most of Italy or at the least the larger cities individuals communicate English so was effective. Once you go to smaller eating places or smaller cities, it may be tougher as a result of they could not perceive what you’re saying and also you simply need to be affected person with it and your self. But it surely additionally had a variety of advantages with the completely different backgrounds. I used to be in a position to join with those that even — my ancestors are from Italy and I used to be in a position to join with individuals by that primarily based on my final identify. They noticed my final identify they usually have been like, oh that’s Italian. And I’m like yeah, “My ancestors are from Calabria and Sicily.” It made it cool that though I didn’t develop up in Italy and my grandparents didn’t develop up in Italy, I had nice grandparents that did and it made the life-style and tradition really feel — I don’t wish to say house — however really feel true.

aifs abroad student at the leaning tower of pisa in pisa, italy
Kate on the Leaning Tower of Pisa in close by Pisa, Italy

Sustainable Residing Overseas

Q: Being overseas in Europe, there are some extra sustainable way of life alternatives. Did you discover that any of those have been included into your expertise and do you assume you’ll proceed to make use of these practices now that you just’re again house?

A: They’re very strict in Italy on recycling and taking out your trash. Very particularly, right here — at the least the place I stay recycling consists of pans, glass and paper. That each one goes below the identical factor. However there, you separate your paper, you separate your glass, you separate your metals, after which your trash. As a result of I’m right here and it doesn’t actually matter — like I don’t have separate trash cans that I’ve to place my recycling into — I don’t incorporate it right here. It was a little bit difficult to need to set every little thing in accordance with what it was, however that’s one factor. And likewise, I used to be lucky that my condo in Italy had air con however not everyone seems to be and that isn’t frequent. I didn’t use the air con whereas I used to be there. I grew up with air con and a fan each evening. That’s how I slept, that’s how I sleep through the summer time. However I type of have been limiting air con use. I’m hoping that’s serving to me be extra sustainable.

aifs abroad student studying abroad in florence, italy at famous boar statue
Kate with well-known Boar statue in Florence, Italy

Research Overseas Recommendation

Q: So I simply have one final query. Is there any recommendation you’ll give people who find themselves considering of learning overseas?

A: I’d simply say benefit from it. You’re most likely gonna spend some huge cash, and also you’re not going to be very pleased with your self after. However within the second, you’re going to wish to spend the cash both on a leather-based purse or the journey the someplace. I’m so glad that after I was there I didn’t restrict myself from something, and I actually simply took benefit of all of it.

Able to take the leap and examine overseas? We’d love that can assist you begin your journey!

Right here at AIFS Overseas, we all know a factor or two about serving to faculty college students and pre-professionals examine and intern overseas. Our applications are extremely inclusive, which takes a variety of the stress out of planning. From coordinating your housing to offering issues like cultural and social actions, excursions, complete insurance coverage, 24/7 emergency help, on-site employees, and extra, you’ll take consolation in figuring out you’ll have help all through your total expertise overseas.

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