Before Traveling Abroad
I traveled abroad to Florence, Italy this summer to learn more about the Italian language and culture. This was only the second time I had been out of the country and, as such, I had assumed it would be much like when I went to France with my friend and her family, so I prepared in the same ways. In preparation for my study abroad, I researched a bit of the local customs, some of the history, and some of the local spots which are welcoming to foreigners. I knew that my main goal of the experience was to be able to speak Italian more fluently once the trip was over, so I also tried to find places where I would have to use the local language to communicate effectively, though I was very nervous to do so as I had only taken a few courses before the trip. One major thing I did right before I left for the trip was to really try to understand that though I would be fully submerged in a culture different from my own, this trip would all be a learning experience and any troubles or positive outcomes would all be a part of it. My advice for students who are about to go on a trip abroad is go in with a plan, but be flexible. You are about to be someplace completely new with new cultural norms, new sights, new smells, new everything. Know what you want from the experience, but also be willing to learn and understand the whole world doesn’t do everything the same way, and that’s okay! Relax and enjoy the experience.