In August 2016, I sat down in the second row of my Italian 102 classroom next to a girl who did not seem too intimidating. I chose the second row because that generally means you’re interested in the class and wanting to make a good grade but not an overachiever, right? The girl next to me turned and introduced herself and we both shared that we had taken Italian 101, but we were nervous about Italian 102 because we were afraid we had lost most of our Italian over the summer break. One day in October, Education Abroad came to speak to our class about studying abroad, but I really did not think much about it after that because I had already applied and been offered a job for the summer. However, as the semester continued I realized my reading and speaking skills were decent and I wanted to continue to improve in the language, but the classes no longer fit in my schedule. When I went home for Christmas break, I asked my parents if I could look into it and possibly go, and they agreed!

Initially when I decided to go, I was extremely excited. I downloaded an app on my phone that would help keep my Italian skills up and I made sure to do the lesson everyday of Christmas break. When I got back to school in January, my actual schoolwork took priority and my Italian fell to the side. I started to get anxious that I would show up in Italy and not be able to say or understand anything. Although I am still a little worried, I am trying to prepare by reminding myself that even a person who is more skilled than I am in Italian would have trouble at first immersing themselves into a completely different culture.

My goal in studying abroad is to meet new friends around the world and become a little more fluent in Italian. I am excited to experience a culture that celebrates food and the table and values leisurely eating, drinking, and cooking! I am also excited to live with an Italian family and learn what day to day life looks like in Florence!