My study abroad journey started two years ago by my Interior Architecture and Design program sending an email about our program studying Architecture in Milan over the summer. Shortly after, COVID-19 struck the world and ended this dream of ours, but two years later this dream came back to life. The summer going into my senior year of the program is when this dream could finally be lived.
To start, I have never been overseas before, but knowing people within my program that were also attending the study abroad trip made the experience that much more special. We were able to connect on a deeper level about the innovative design strategies we were seeing and experiencing. It was even beneficial for our dedicated long weekends because of our common interests to see important architectural monuments while abroad. Interior Design changes with different environments, economies’, and the culture of a country. In addition to this, architectural buildings including Duomo Di Milano, Monumento a Carlo Cattaneo, Galleria Altido, etc. These are only a few examples to the inspirational architecture we experienced daily on our walks through Milan, Italy. The transportation in Italy is mainly through the metro, walking, trains, and cars or vespas. My favorite part about the transportation was the wide variety in ways to get to your destination. Our main transportation tactics was walking and the metro, which was even walking distance from our hotel location. By the first week of our trip, we memorized how to get around Milan in these ways and it made adventuring around the city much easier.
In Italy, the way of life is very different than in the Unites States. We learned to not ever be in a rush when doing things and enjoy the present moment. In Milan, we even befriended a local restaurant located next to our hotel. We became regulars arriving daily for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They welcomed us with open arms, even teaching us about some cultural differences and Italian phrases. On our last night in Italy. the owner of ChurchHill even arranged a going away party for our group. We ended the night with trading polaroid pictures for one another, so our time together over the past three weeks could never be forgotten. The owner taped our pictures behind the bar saying, “Now you guys will never leave.” This experience shaped our perspective on hospitality, friendship, and culture. I will never forget all the people I met at ChurchHill and the value lessons they taught us.
My advice to anyone thinking of traveling abroad is to do it! It is an experience that is even hard to describe into words by how impactful and beautiful it is. The experience not only changes your perspective on life while you’re there but changes your perspective within your return. I have noticed myself living in the present moment as much as possible and being more adventurous in a town I’ve lived my entire life.
Kaley Henry (BS Interior Architecture) spent Summer 2022 in Milan, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip linked with a UTC course. Kayla had the following to say about study abroad, “My time abroad shaped my perspective of design, innovation, culture, and life. I can truly say that I feel like a different person after pushing my limits and venturing beyond my comfort zone.”
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