April Patterson - Summer in Florence with the American Institute of Foreign Study
What sparked my interest in studying abroad? One of my good friends who is actually also in the COM department studied abroad through this same program for a semester. Hearing about her experiences and looking through her pictures is what really motivated me to study abroad. Studying abroad is something that has always sounded like a great experience to me, but like many other students I didn't think it was actually possible and wasn't sure where I should start to begin planning my trip. Having the ability to talk with someone who has experienced studying abroad was extremely helpful.
What did I learn? I can't even really put into words everything I learned while studying abroad. Its a learning experience that I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate until they experience it for themselves. The class I took was called Italian Culture. I learned about many different important aspects of their culture, such as the role of food, sports, family, history, traditions, Italian language, relationships, etc. I was able to learn both in the class room as well as outside of the class room with many amazing field trips to places I would have never been able to experience on my own. I also learned a lot about myself throughout my journey abroad. I am just proud of myself for actually going through with studying abroad and learning to be more independent and more open to diverse cultures. It really allowed me to appreciate other cultures as well as everything we have available to us in the United States.
Why do I recommend studying abroad? I would HIGHLY recommend studying abroad to absolutely any and every student. It was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Traveling with an organized program provides you with so many different opportunities to take advantage of that might be very difficult if you were traveling alone ( ex. places to stay, food, field trips, learning experiences, basically the inside scoop of what it is truly like to live there and be a part of their culture). As a college student, now is the time to do something like this. There will most likely never be another time in your life where you can pack up and go see the world while learning so much at the same time. Not to mention you are receiving college credits at the same time. It is a wonderful opportunity that everyone should take advantage of.
~April Patterson, Communication Studies Major