In May of 2022, I was talking to a friend who briefly mentioned a study abroad trip to Italy to me. I began doing my research and truly reflected on the idea of an experience of a lifetime. The closer we got to the trip the more I was learning information and how to’s when in Europe which helped me enjoy my experience a bit better. Something I gained when in Venice, Italy was adapting to the different cultures and religions that locals attend to. That includes going to Mass at the Santa Maria of Nazareth, which happened to be right next to our hotel! What I experienced that morning was the pure beauty and enjoyment people do in the early mornings. Such as getting a cappuccino or espresso on the go, or watching families and friends walk to mass together. Hearing the service in only Italian was very interesting to experience as well as just listening and trying to understand what is being said. I was able to pinpoint some words but overall, it was just beautiful to hear and listen to how they do their church services.
Something that stood out to me most during my trip was the beautiful gondola ride we got to experience in Venice. The weather was cold, yet the sun was so pretty that day. I felt like I was on a boat ride in Disney World. Another event that stood out to me was going to visit the statue of David. We spent about an hour with our tour guide talking about facts and personal views on the David Statue as well as its significance. A place that struck me with its incredible uniqueness was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We spent the whole day there and got to admire the architecture as well as the view from the top of the tower which I did not expect to do. I am somewhat afraid of heights, but this experience was one I was glad to do, regardless of my fears. Another spot that showed much uniqueness and beauty was St. Mark’s Basilica. This was a cathedral I never thought I would be able to see in person. We were able to walk inside and admire all the décor, statues, and history that that building holds.
Overall, I studied abroad mainly to get a grip on more culture around our world. I have only been out of the country once, but I have always wanted to go to Europe specifically for the culture and beliefs they share. The statues all around Italy will always stick with me mainly because of their features and history that goes behind them. I even teared up a few times looking at famous paintings and sculptures by artists I have only ever heard about in textbooks. Lastly, my favorite thing during our whole trip was being able to walk the streets of Italy and experience/ admire things I saw on my own time. This experience was one I never want to forget and wish I had done it sooner.
Abigail Emberson (BS Psychology) spent part of December 2022 participating in a faculty-led trip to the Italy through the Rollins College of Business. Abigail had the following to say about studying abroad, “My takeaway from this study abroad trip is that the culture in Italy was different from what we are used to here in US, but it was something incredible to experience and think about. Some of their daily routines in Italy are ones we Americans would question and not do. Such as waking up and taking a few espresso shots before work and a cigarette in hand. That is culturally normal in Italy, therefore stuck out to me to see the differences in what people do, eat, and partake in during the day. What I would like to tell future study abroad students is to not hesitate and book that plane ticket. This experience was one I will hold with me the rest of my life. I was able to experience a part of the world that others can only dream of. I would suggest going in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This journey was a great way to get to know other people, culture, and architecture.”
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