When I decided to declare a minor in Italian, the first question many people asked was “Why?” And why one decides to do something is rarely followed by a simple answer. However; just this once, the answer was relatively easy. My great grandparents and several other older family members spoke Italian however; it was not passed down. I’ve always felt cheated out of the language so I took things into my own hands. I decided to minor in Italian because, while always interested in the Italian language and culture, I discovered it as a new passion only one week into my first class. I’ve always loved learning languages but none have ever stuck. I might be able to say hello in French or ask where the bathroom is in Spanish but that’s where any proficiency in either language ends. I don’t plan on letting the same thing happen in Italian.

This is, perhaps, the driving factor behind studying abroad this summer. I believe there is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in it completely; to put yourself in a situation where you have little to no choice but to at least attempt to speak the language. That is why I chose the UA in Italy: Language and Culture study abroad program located in Florence. This program is focused solely on the Italian language and allows you to earn six credits in two Italian language courses depending on your level and previous experience which can range from absolutely nothing to proficient. I enrolled in Italian 201 and Italian Conversation Abroad. Both of these classes will go towards helping me complete my minor and allow me to improve my speaking, reading, and writing skills.

While academic growth is extremely important, I believe that the opportunity to go outside of your comfort zone (aka your home country and language) and immerse yourself in somewhere new is just as, or more so, important. You can find this pretty much anywhere but I love Italy with all of my heart. I was fortunate enough to go to Rome when I was a sophomore in high school but had never been back. Returning and living here for a whole month has been life-changing and I would recommend that anyone, even if you are not studying Italian, come visit at least once. Italia è molto bellisima.