My name is Amelie, and I studied abroad in Kenya summer 2012 and Italy spring 2013. Being able to study abroad in two very opposite countries was the opportunity of a lifetime, giving me the chance to explore the world and the differing cultures and breathtaking places it has to offer. Not only did I learn things beyond what could be taught in a classroom, but I had hands on classes and was able to apply what I was learning in my everyday life while being in both Kenya and Italy.
I’ll start with my experience in the summer program in Kenya. It was a two weeklong program enabling me to travel in a part of the world I never thought I would have the chance to see. It consisted of 5am safaris, watching the sunrise all while learning about wildlife habitats and the Maasai people coexisting as friendly or not so friendly neighbors. It was an incredible trip and I would 100% do it all again in a heartbeat, tsetse fly bites and all.
Now for a semester in Rome, the capital of art and culture! I had the most amazing time in Rome, making long-life friends, getting lost in the cobblestone streets and stumbling upon world famous monuments such as the Pantheon or churches of insurmountable beauty. I studied at the Lorenzo de’ Medici school, which is small in size, enabling everyone to become a community and we would all go out to explore the city together, eat mouthwatering pasta dishes and drink locally produced wines. There is a variation of in class and hands on classes where they actually take you around the city to learn about the specific topic. I took History of Architecture and Rome Sketchbook, two classes that permitted me to see places I never would have discovered on my own all across the city and even in the outskirts of Rome. This city stole my heart and so did the school, which is organized in a very well planned way to both learn about the Italian culture but also visit the city and everything it has to offer.
Being back in the states is a huge culture shock after being in Kenya for just two weeks, or 4 months away in Italy. I’m so glad I can come back and share my experiences with my friends, family, classmates, as well as inspire as many people possible to escape their American ways and go abroad to have life changing adventures and discover our worldly neighbors.