I still cannot believe I will be studying abroad in Italy for the entire month of July with the UA In Italy: Following Shakespeare faculty-led program. My group and I start the adventure in Venice and end in Rome, visiting three or more cities in between. I know that if I properly prepare for this trip it can make it an even better experience for myself.

I did some research on Italy to educate myself on common Italian gestures and phrases to not feel so ignorant on their communicative norms while I’m there. I think it is important to learn about the country I will be traveling to before I go. I need to understand that I am a tourist in their country so it would be respectful of me to act and present myself appropriately to their customs. In addition, I have created a budget plan with my parents and figured out the estimated amount of money I can spend weekly to keep on track with my overall budget for the five weeks I’ll be abroad. Another really useful tool the professor gave us was the chance to ask his prior students that did the program last year questions about their experiences and any tips they have for us. I learned a ton of really useful things that I would have never known! For example, they strongly encourage us to bring a duffle bag instead of a rolling suitcase. This is because Italy is covered with cobblestone paths which causes rolling suitcase wheels to get caught in the stones and rip right off! Also, they recommended doing all the reading before the departure of the trip so when you are in class over the summer you are just reviewing rather than learning the material for the first time. That way I can spend more time exploring rather than drowning in school work. My favorite advice that was given to me was writing in a journal throughout the experience. It is a chance of a lifetime to explore Italy and I want to be able to look back on my thoughts and day to day sights and activities. I’m so thankful to be able to go on this program and travel a new and exciting country.