Italy: Looking Back

Submitted by Matthew Marsilii on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Italy sponsored by the Department of English…

Looking back over the three weeks I spent in Italy, I found it to be an incredible experience.  The country is vastly different than the United States and offers a lot to see.  I have spent a lot of my time before this traveling around the U.S., often for no more than two weeks at a time and never staying in one place for very long.  This program was vastly different, given that I spent two weeks just in Florence. Here, I was taking classes and exploring the city on a daily basis, rather than jumping around from one tourist site to the next.  I think this really allowed me to experience Italy in a way that many others may not.  Now, I acknowledge the differences between the regions of the country, despite Florentines often reminding me that the Italian language was founded in their city first.  I had to learn how to function in this new unfamiliar environment on my own and, by the end of the program, I felt like I really knew the city in a way I never experienced on other trips.  I really think a program of this length and of this design, is something incredibly beneficial for each and every person.  It probably is the closest thing to straight up moving to that destination.  However, in my case, I have never moved to a new place. It’s the equivalent of rushing through a book, compared to sitting down and taking time to fully immerse yourself in the story. You learn things by doing that and one can gain things from it. This is compared to rushing to one attraction to the next, with only your Instagram story as your focus.   If or when I travel in the future, I hope to focus on finding the personality of a place, along with hitting the big must-see spots.  By doing this, I think I stand to learn much from wherever, I decide to go.

The capitol building in Florence and once home to the Medici Family