Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to travel to Italy. I loved everything about the idea of going – the food, the culture, the pictures and most importantly, that I’m Italian. So when I heard that my school had a program where I could study abroad in Milan, Italy, I jumped on the opportunity!
I lived in Milan from January 2008-May 2008. I lived with two of my college friends in a two bedroom apartment. It was so teeny tiny! There was a small kitchen that could barely fit more than one person at a time, a bathroom, 2 bedrooms and a hallway, where we would eat our meals. No living room, no couch, no tv. At first this was hard to get used to but eventually we learned to adapt.
While living in Milan I studied at NABA, The Nuova Acadamia di Bella Arti, which was an art school. I took fashion courses as well as courses about Italian culture and language. Although I did take an Italian course before I left for Italy and I was studying Italian while I was there, I was not the best at speaking Italian. It was pretty frustrating but funny at times.
My favorite part about studying abroad was the opportunity to travel. I travelled to many countries including Switzerland, England, France and Spain. Within Italy I travelled to Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Sienna, Assisi, Rome, Pisa and Sardinia. If I had to choose one, I think I’d say that Florence was my favorite. Although all of Italy was beautiful in its own way, Florence represents what you think of when you imagine typical Italy. The city is so clean and quaint and really easy to get around. And the food is amazing!
I can still remember my favorite meal, which was in Sienna. We had gone there on a school trip and it was pouring. After touring the city we asked our guide for some guidance of where to eat. She recommended a restaurant called . We ordered bruchetta as an appetizer. For my meal I had grilled chicken seasoned with lemon and rosemary, mashed potatoes and caponata. Ohhh caponata! Nothing compares to Italian componata, which is sautéed peppers and onions. Although the meal was simple, the flavors were so bold and fresh. It stands out in my mind because it was so satisfying and exactly what I wanted at that moment.
While I was studying abroad I wrote for my school as a journal writer. I updated students about what it was like to be a Philadelphia University student while I was in Philly that fall and then what it was like to be a student studying abroad. You can read my school journal here. I also kept a personal journal about my travels abroad. You can read about it here .
Studying abroad was a life changing experience. I learned so many things about traveling, different parts of the world and most importantly, myself. I grew up a lot that spring and learned things that you can only learn when you’re living in another country. I miss Italy every day and I can’t wait to go back one day!