Immersing myself in a new culture

By Karina Delgado

I had many different experiences throughout my study abroad in Italy. I really believe this experience was like no other. I loved travelling with a group of people who had similar interests as me and yet had different ideas. I got to see new things and meet new people throughout the 6 weeks. I was able to emerge myself in a new culture and I loved getting to see a how other people live day to day.

The first thing I noticed that was different other than the language, was the food. The food was amazing. Food and wine are such a big part of the Italian culture and I never realized how little importance the American culture puts on food. Italians pour their pride into their cuisine. While in Verona, were went to a cooking class in which we made handmade ricotta tortellini. Our chef/teacher was so sweet and something I will never forget is the ‘Italian pinch of salt” which is actually a handful of salt. I really enjoyed how care free Italians seemed at dinner. You could stay at the dinner table for hours without being rushed out of the restaurant by the servers. Dinner was to relax, eat and hangout with your friends before going home. We also went to two wine tastings as a group. The winery’s in Italy were very impressive. You can tell that the Italians take pride in their wine.

As I have mentioned before, the European culture is very different. As an American, it was very easy to be spotted. There is a language barrier and although we tried to speak the language, many could tell we were American as soon as we opened our mouth. There were many friendly people that I met along the way, but there were also people who were not as friendly. This really helped me open my eyes to see how people really feel about the States and has allowed me to reflect on the way I act and to be mindful of it and it taught me to be more respectful of other people’s ideals and views.

Travelling to different countries on our free weekends was one of the best things we got to do. It was so strange being able to get on a bus and four hours later be in a different country. I think traveling together united us more as a group because we had to watch out for one another, and we had to depend on each other in foreign countries.

I really wish that I could encompass my experience with words, but it is so difficult to do so. I believe this study abroad has really affected my future. Dr. Bullock’s class really reaffirmed what I want to do in the future. I was also inspired by my peers because we have the same interest and it’s comforting knowing I am not the only one who is worried about law school or what the future holds for SPIA majors. I also believe the friends I made on this study abroad will be people that I will work with in the future or people I can call on for work matter questions. I’m really excited to see where my friends go in life and I am thankful to this study abroad.