We all know that studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity where you get to experience different food, cultures, and overall just gain a greater sense of the world around us. But, among the glitz and glamour that surrounds the idea of traveling to a new country comes the part that you’re really there for: studying. While I know I briefly mentioned why I decided to study abroad and the courses I am taking here in Salerno, I wanted to write this post to not only give further insight into what it means to study internationally, but also some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over these past couple weeks!
A quick disclaimer: After the craziness of the past year of Covid-19 and the uncertainty of whether this trip would actually be allowed to take place at all, changes were made to the original program given the circumstances. Sadly, I cannot speak for the “normal” study abroad experience here in Salerno, but I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity and I still find it important to share my *unique* study abroad experience with y’all!
- Normally this program would be faculty led
- In previous years the program has consisted of up to 22 students
- Original trip dates were May 17-June 10
Sidenote: I just figured out how to attach a video onto here so I apologize if there’s any strange formatting, stick with me and I promise I’ll figure it out!!!
Italian Language In Salerno: This is the name of the Ole Miss program I am currently taking part in here in Salerno! With no prior experience necessary, you can be assured that the instructors at Accademia Italiana (the name of the school we’re studying at) will have you in the best hands. Classes go from 9:00am-12:50pm, with a short break from 11:00am-11:30am. The 8 of us here (with the exception of 1 in a higher course level) are in the same class with one instructor who has taught Ole Miss students for the past 10 years!!! Over the course of the 4 weeks that we’re here, we are only taking Italian language courses, equivalent to 6 credit hours. While Ole Miss does offer other study abroad programs (none of which were offered this past year), I truly believe that Salerno has been the most fantastic and immersive opportunity for not only strengthening my Italian skills, but getting the true study abroad experience in a town that has a perfect balance of feeling pushed outside my comfort zone, yet still lets me appreciate the beauty in that feeling.
Some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the past 2 weeks regarding classes in Salerno:
- Do your homework: Ok, yes it’s an obvious one, but it is so necessary. Not only am I here to be immersed in the true Italian experience, but to actually LEARN ITALIAN!!! Languages take time and there’s no other way to get better than to practice! practice! practice!
- Always keep your ears open: By this I don’t mean don’t just eat all the mozzarella that you possibly can at the mozzarella tasting, but actually listen to what the teachers, tour guides, and locals have to say about these places you’re going to! Yes, take in all the sights, smells, and tastes, but don’t get so caught up in the “razzle dazzle” that you don’t learn about the age old history and traditions of the place you’re in!
- Discover your place: Traveling somewhere new where you’re the outsider is hard, especially when you’re almost 6,000 miles away from home like I am. For me, I’ve found that my place is the “lungomare”. A 2 kilometer stretch of walking trail along the seafront promenade, I’ve taken comfort in walking amongst the locals, enjoying the beauty of the sea and feeling what it’s truly like to live in this magical place. Whether it be a walk, jog, or simply a stroll with a cone of gelato in hand, I believe that these moments are the ones that I am going to look back upon when recalling my time here in Salerno.
- Find the balance: Yes I’m here for school, but that’s not the only reason. The food, culture, history… the list goes on forever. Put in the work when it’s time for school and then enjoy your time here! It’s not often that you get rewarded for being on vacation, so take in all that you can…ALWAYS!
I hope that this post gave a little more insight into my unique study abroad experience and shed more light upon what the school side of things here actually look like. The grandiose and mystery of studying abroad can often feel overwhelming, so I hope that my experience so far can bring this idea a little bit more down to earth. That’s all for now!
Ciao a tutti!