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Observations of Italians

One of my favorite days in Italy was when I took a day to wander around downtown Rome. I went to an art museum, a botanical garden and then a restaurant. I spent the day observing how Italian people interacted with each other. Since I don’t speak Italian, I listened to their tone of voice and looked at their at body language to analyze what they might be discussing.

In the art museum, I watched how a little boy related to his family. The mother was walking from room to room looking at paintings. He adamantly and quietly followed her the entire time. If she left a painting, he immediately went after her. I was impressed with his good behavior and manners. In a whole a month in Italy, I only observed one temper tantrum by a child.

The way people treated each other in Italy was very refreshing. I witnessed teenagers who wanted to volunteer. Whenever older people were in need of assistance so many youngsters volunteered to assist them. In the botanical garden, an older lady was walking along and the younger woman accompanying her made sure the older lady was able to fully experience the garden. In Siena, our tour guide told us about an upcoming horse race similar to the Kentucky Derby called Palio de Siena. The tour guide shared how teenagers eagerly volunteered to assist with the dinners for the event as kids wanted to impress their parents.

Before I left to study abroad, I was more concerned about my own life. My experience abroad was empowering and priceless. It was more than just the food and art. It was about the people. It was about finding a new version of myself. I developed a new part of myself that I would never want to take back. When I came back, I started making connections in the art community. It doesn’t matter where you go abroad. I wanted to go to Italy for art, but I could have gone someplace else. If you are on the edge about studying abroad and need money, do it. There’s a whole world waiting for you to explore.

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Sarah Mcarter

KIIS Italy
Studio Art
University of Louisville

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