Multi-Layered Benefits of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad on the KIIS Italy program was one of the best experiences of my life! I highly recommend it to everyone. I greatly value being able to travel the world and see things I had only imagined seeing, such as The David, Rome Colosseum, Trevi fountain, etc.
The most impactful experiences I had on the KIIS Italy program was visiting various cities throughout Italy and seeing as much of the country as I could. I traveled from the coasts of Italy (Cinque Terre and Capri) to the big cities (Rome, Florence, Venice). I also visited Vatican City, Pompeii and Ostia. My travels showed me how diverse Italy is and how landscapes change by just driving a few hours in a certain direction.
One of my favorite moments was having a weekend off and many friends and I traveled on a local train to Vico Equense, near Naples. We shared a large house and spent an entire day riding around the island of Capri on a boat with our tour guide. That day we saw some of the most breathtaking sites we have ever seen, many of us referred to it as one of the best days of our lives.
Another large part of why I chose KIIS Italy was because of the opportunity to see all of the art Italy had to offer. Looking at the David, the Sistine Chapel artwork, and the tomb of Michelangelo up close were amazing experiences!
Something else that I brought home with me was friends! I went to Italy with two of my college friends, but I came back with so many more friends. I also met my girlfriend of almost two years in Italy, and we quickly realized that we only lived 15 minutes away from each other in the U.S. I have kept in touch with many of my friends I met in Italy, and we have even met up for small “Italy reunions” in Kentucky.
At first, I was afraid of the language barrier and talking to locals in Italy because I am not an outgoing person. However, our professors continued to encourage us to just try and talk to waiters, or whoever we came across using the Italian phrases they taught us. As we began to talk to Italian people, we realized how nice and friendly everyone was and how they actually wanted to help us and show us their beautiful country. I met many amazing individuals while in Italy, and was able to share jokes, stories, and learn from them.
Lastly, with my business administration degree I learned more about networking. Talking to students and professors from other colleges, I learned from them and created relationships that were mutually beneficial. I was able to immerse myself in another culture and gain new perspectives. Instead of just having ideas and outlooks from my American culture, I was able to look at Italian culture and better understand how they do certain things and act certain ways. These experiences will assist me as I encounter different cultural backgrounds in my future employment. It also increases my respect for other cultures and enables me to be mindful of cultural etiquette.
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