Apple pie, white picket fences, football, and the land of the free. This is some of the few basic American things I have experienced growing up in the United States. The closest thing to going out of the country I have experienced was driving over the one mile pond from my hometown in Detroit, MI to Canada when I was 8 years old. But over the coming weeks, I will not only be going to one place in Italy, but to almost 8 different cities.

Truly houses of Alberobello, Italy

     So far in my lifetime I have only experienced bits and pieces of Europe growing up, either through stories told by my grandmother that immigrated here at the young age of 25, or in my italian classes during high school. I knew one day that I would be able to experience all of the wonders of the country of Italy, but I never knew it would come so soon.

     Getting ready for the trip, there has been quite a number of things I have ran into that I never would have thought would have been a problem, ranging from having different outlets to being warned by professors that the italians tend to be a little more “touchy” than Americans are used to. All of these things really make me realize that this should really be quite an experience.

     Naturally, I have always been an overpacker. And now, going on this trip, it was obvious I have overpacked a little too much, and have had to go back in and take out many items of clothing that seem a bit unnecessary. But no matter what I try to pack, it just never feels like enough.

     Of course I am very nervous to go on this journey, to a foreign country that speaks an entirely different language than I’m used to. But luckily, since I have family in the city of Bari, my grandmother will be going back to Italy with me this time to visit her siblings. This is sort of my little safety net that I will have for the first two weeks I will be in Italy before the faculty-led program begins. I have taken almost 4 years of italian classes, but even then I still, for some reason, don’t really feel prepared even though my professors would tell me otherwise.

     Overall, however, I am extremely excited for this trip. I am a lover of new and different experiences, and this program will definitely be both of those.

     I am hoping above all that I am able to learn a lot from this trip, both about the language and generally getting used to the culture change. I also have great expectations for the food in Italy because everyone that I know that has gone there has only spoken highly of the food compared to the usual american cuisine. I am trying, however, to not have a lot of expectations for this trip so that I can continually keep an open mind to the culture as a whole.