Hi y’all! I’ve officially come to the end of my study abroad and I wanted to hop on here for one last hurrah on my time in Italy! While it’s impossible to truly summarize the past 4 weeks into a couple of short paragraphs and pictures, I’m going to try my best to bring some finality to this crazy adventure that I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience!
First, let me say that I am so incredibly grateful for the Ole Miss Italian department and the study abroad office not only for offering this program, but for allowing it to happen amid the craziness of this past year. From date changes to cancellations, 3 Covid tests, and everything in between, I cannot believe that this trip finally got the green light to go, and I am so thankful for the hard work of everyone that fought so hard for it to proceed.
I don’t want to get too sappy (even though I’m mega sad that I’m not going to be able to make these posts any more), but I thought it would be memorable to go back and reflect on some of the final things that I liked and disliked about studying abroad in Italy. I read somewhere that after you return home from a trip like this, you shouldn’t just wrap up all your experiences and stick them on a shelf to collect dust. I hope that making this post gives me some finality to the last 4 weeks and allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the impact this opportunity has had on me!
In Italy, I liked…
- the food: I mean c’mon! As if I haven’t been documenting the food nonstop in my posts, nothing better comes to mind when I think of Italy. Plus, in Salerno good food comes cheap! Some honorable mentions include the lasagna from Enzo’s and Nettuno’s brioche with gelato!
- the people: Although I have been taking Italian classes for the past 2 semesters at Ole Miss, languages take time to learn and I’m still trying my best to improve my skills. I think that coming to a foreign country where you’re not able to speak the language gives you a greater appreciation for the people and the culture around you. Learning to take greater notice of the social customs allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of their society as a whole. Whether it was my host mom, teachers, or just random people I met along the way, I was always treated with kindness and never felt out of place as a foreigner.
- Salerno!: Life in Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy is very different and I am so glad that this program was in Salerno. From the beautiful view overlooking the city and the coast on my balcony to walking down 600 year old cobblestone streets, I couldn’t think of a better place to have spent 4 weeks in Italy.
- the nightlife: Italians know how to spend an evening and I found it very interesting to experience a culture so different from what we know in the U.S.. A typical dinner could start as late as 10pm and there’s no telling when it’ll end! It’s so interesting to see the important role that food plays into the social atmosphere in Italy!
In Italy, I disliked…
- no public bathrooms: Yes, I know it seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I can’t tell you how many times I found myself in search of a bathroom to no avail. Also, if you’re lucky enough to find one, it’ll normally cost you anywhere from 10 to 75 cents to use it!
- constantly being stared at as an American: While I tried my best to wear clothes that would have me fitting in as a local, there was no hiding that I was an American. Almost everywhere I went I was met with long stares and looks that constantly reminded me that I was a foreigner. This is just another cultural difference that took me a little while to get used to, but I’ve been told that the people of Salerno were simply excited to see Americans back in Italy after the chaos of the last year, so I tried my best not to take it personally.
- paying for water: In Italy, water comes in big bottles that you pour yourself. It’s not much, but come prepared to spend a couple Euro’s after a long day of walking in the hot sun!
- no splitting checks: Just a heads up: if you’re traveling to Italy and decide to eat in a group, don’t expect to be able to split your check!
Some honorable mentions include:
I can’t believe that my time in Italy is finally up and that I’ll be headed back to school in a few short days. I know I said it before, but I’m so grateful for this experience, the things I saw, and the people I met along the way. The only bit of advice I would have for anyone looking into studying abroad is to DO IT! Whether it’s Italy or somewhere else, go get out there and experience the world! This was the first time I had been outside of North America, and it was so rewarding to see what life is like in a place so removed from what we know. There’s nothing like actually getting to experience it first hand, and I mean who knew that pizza could really be THAT good?!
Anyways, that’s a wrap on my summer in Salerno and I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent 4 weeks of it. Thank you to everyone that stuck with me on this journey and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do it again!
(My final) Ciao a tutti!