Study abroad is a chance to learn about a new, totally foreign culture. Yeah, spending a semester in London is cool, but what’s the challenge in that? Everyone speaks English there, their food is pretty similar, and their culture is virtually the same as America’s. To me, study abroad should be an entirely new experience, something that you can’t get anywhere else. It should be a time to learn, grow, and expand your horizons.
In Ascoli Piceno, Italy, we are being thrown into something completely unknown. I have no idea how to effectively communicate with the locals, I’ve never seen that mysterious meat on my plate, and I’m not used to every store closing in the middle of the day because it’s so dang hot outside and people want to go home for lunch. Everything is different here, but that’s the best part. I want to learn a new word or phrase each day, try all the native foods that Ascoli is known for, and experience things I’ve never experienced before. And can’t forget about that daily gelato goal.
I think the hardest part of being immersed into a new culture is trying to understand how the different lifestyle works. It’s hard not to stick out like a sore thumb in my American clothes and only knowing how to say “hello” and “thank you” in Italian. Adapting is the most difficult part, but also the most exciting part. I’m excited for what lies ahead in my Italian adventures.