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?
10 Core Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2021!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
9765
- # of # Filtered -
  • 99
99
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
1
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
2
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
9756
Springtime In Spain
5
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
6
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
7
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
8
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
9
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
10
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
11
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
12
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
13
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
14
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
15
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
16
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
17
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
18
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
19
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
20
9754
Building Memories In India
21
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
22
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
23
9748
Adventure In The Alps
24
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
25
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
26
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
27
9762
American Freshman In London
28
9771
Learning To Love London
29
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
30
9773
Independent In India
31
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
32
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
33
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
34
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
35
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
36
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
37
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
38
9753
A Season in Sweden
39
9765
Simpatico in Florence
40
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
41
9737
Passionate About Panama
42
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
43
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
44
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
45
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
46
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
47
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
48
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
49
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
50
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
51
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
52
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
53
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
54
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
55
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
56
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
57
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
58
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
59
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
60
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
61
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
62
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
63
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
64
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
65
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
66
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
67
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
68
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
69
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
70
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
71
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
72
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
73
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
74
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
75
9752
Giving In Guatemala
76
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
77
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
78
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
79
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
80
9787
A Spring Semester in London
81
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
82
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
83
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
84
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
85
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
86
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
87
10851
Tips From Tasmania
88
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
89
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
90
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
91
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
92
10157
Changing Course In China
93
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
94
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
95
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
96
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
97
10192
Out And About In Paris
98
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
99
9765
All Job Boards
463
All NGOs
1427
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
54
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
28
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
70
Cross-cultural Skills
80
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
45
Health And Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
305
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
31
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
489
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
106
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
29
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
27
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
99
Study Abroad Resources
188
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
99
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
73
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
85
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
269
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Virtual International Internship Organizations
78
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73