Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Simpatico In Florence

Q&A with Kristina: Studied in Italy
Share this
Print this
Kristina
Studied in Italy
SUNY: University at Albany
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
The most important thing about cross-cultural communication in Italy was using hand gestures. If I didn’t know how to say a certain word, hand gestures were a universal way I could communicate!
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
I used to do everything in a hurry. Now I try to take things step-by-step and notice everything around me.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
Be prepared to arrive not knowing anything, feeling like an outsider – but leave feeling like you found a new home.

When and where did you study abroad?

I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy. Two years ago my brother studied in Florence, and said the experience changed his life and was the best experience he has ever had. So I decided it was time to get away from my usual life and explore Italy.

What was the biggest surprise?

When I started getting used to the Italian lifestyle, the biggest surprise was the way Italian people carried themselves and interacted with each other. In Italian, the word “simpatico” means “nice,” however, my Italian language professor had told me that being nice isn’t what their culture is known for. Rather, he said, they are known for their honesty and loyalty, which is was Florentines consider “simpatico” to mean. But I found them to be very friendly.

How did you deal with the cultural divide?

I felt that in order to deal with it, I had to learn to speak Italian and pick up their mannerisms. Getting used to the hand gestures and certain table manners took some time. Before I went to study abroad, I took a beginner Italian language course to prepare myself, which made it easier to communicate. I also took an intermediate language course while I was there. The best part was that I could walk outside my apartment and practice speaking to native Italians. The most important thing about cross-cultural communication in Italy was using hand gestures. If I didn’t know how to say a certain word, hand gestures were a universal way I could communicate!

What made your study abroad trip a success?

I felt that making new friends and letting myself be at ease made my study abroad successful. At times I was homesick, but then I would realize that this is a once in a lifetime experience and I had to use it to its fullest advantage.

What was your return like?

Returning home was tough. I had gotten used to the Italian culture and was unaccustomed to the American lifestyle. However, I had a lot of stories to tell my friends and family. I was able to give them gifts and show them pictures while telling them stories about my adventure. But it took me a long time to get used to the American culture and the pace of life. Italian people are very laid back, they took their time with everything; even something as simple as walking to the grocery store. New York is a fast-moving place; everyone is always in a rush. When I came home, I realized that I never took the time out to observe my surroundings. I used to do everything in a hurry. Now I try to take things step-by-step and notice everything around me.

Do you have any top tips for students hoping to follow in your footsteps?

If you plan on studying abroad, be prepared to arrive not knowing anything, feeling like an outsider – but leave feeling like you found a new home. My trip was a life changer. It gave me a new outlook on life and allowed me to appreciate everything that this world has to offer. Before it was time to leave Italy, our whole study abroad program wrote quotes for the semester yearbook. I found that Mark Twain’s quote summed up all my feelings in just a few sentences. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

In a year I will be attending law school and on my way on achieving my goal of being a judge. I have looked into several internships abroad at legal firms and I'm taking that option into consideration. However, I do plan on going back to Florence, where I studied abroad, and visiting other countries and cities that I have not yet seen.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher
Kristina does a good job of describing Florentine culture, and how she did her best to maximize her time in the city. Though still in the process of earning her undergraduate degree, Kristina has begun to determine her future career goals. She should consider studying international law and aiming to become a judge in the international court system. This is an exciting, challenging and rewarding career for those motivated and passionate enough to pursue it. Until applying for law school, Kristina should maximize her cross-cultural experience on campus by becoming involved in internationally-oriented extra-curricular activities, and gearing her elective courses towards international subjects to maximize her exposure to international issues and/or build language skills.
Kristina's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Earn $30 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Career-boosting Strategies While Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
9765
- # of # Filtered -
  • 83
83
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
1
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
2
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
3
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
4
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
5
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
6
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
7
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
8
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
9
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
10
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
11
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
12
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
13
10851
Tips From Tasmania
14
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
15
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
16
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
17
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
18
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
19
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
20
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
21
9762
American Freshman In London
22
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
23
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
24
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
25
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
26
9773
Independent In India
27
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
28
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
29
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
30
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
31
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
32
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
33
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
34
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
35
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
36
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
37
9771
Learning To Love London
38
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
39
9737
Passionate About Panama
40
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
41
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
42
9787
A Spring Semester In London
43
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
44
10192
Out And About In Paris
45
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
46
10157
Changing Course In China
47
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
48
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
49
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
50
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
51
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
52
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
53
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
54
9753
A Season In Sweden
55
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
56
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
57
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
58
9752
Giving In Guatemala
59
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
60
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
61
9756
Springtime In Spain
62
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
63
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
64
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
65
9748
Adventure In The Alps
66
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
67
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
68
9765
Simpatico In Florence
69
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
70
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
71
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
72
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
73
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
74
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
75
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
76
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
77
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
78
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
79
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
80
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
81
9754
Building Memories In India
82
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
83
9765
All Job Boards
429
All NGOs
1497
Au Pair Resources
35
Awards and Grants Resources
35
Business and Finance Job Boards
63
Business Directories
20
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
64
Canadian Government Resources
25
Children and Families Abroad
18
Country Guides
57
Cross-cultural Skills
78
Engineering Job Boards
55
Engineering Resources
63
Expatriate Networking Sites
22
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
20
General Job Search
18
Global Education and Social Action
30
Health and Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
44
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
41
International Development Career Resources
46
International Internship Job Boards and Advice
52
International Internship Organizations
311
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
36
International Internships With the US Government
40
International Job Hunting Resources
13
International Law Careers Resources
106
International Law Job Boards
28
International Studies in the US and Canada
13
International Trade Resources
26
International Volunteer Organizations
489
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
149
Language Careers
30
Learn a Language
99
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
28
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
19
Loans for Studying Abroad
19
Low-cost Travel
58
NGO Directories
31
NGO Job Boards
41
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
120
Relocating Abroad
18
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
50
Stories From Abroad
83
Study Abroad Resources
193
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
97
Teach English Abroad Resources
57
Tools for Travelers
71
Top International Blogs
50
Travel Health and Safety
42
UN and Other IGOs
234
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
18
UN and Other IGOs Resources
18
US Government Profiles
79
US Government Resources
32
Visas and Passports
25
Volunteer Job Boards and Advice
50
Women Living and Working Overseas
15
Working Vacation Resources
56