On August 3rd, 2019, I returned to Miami from my study abroad trip in Florence, Italy. Reflecting back on my experience there, I am confident that there was no better way to spend my last summer with USF in a different culture & atmosphere. Coming back, I have decided to highlight three aspects that I felt were unique to my experience in Italy.
Cultural competence is an important quality to have in any professional setting. Spending six weeks in a culture other than my own helped me better communicate non-verbally with others that do not share the same customs and traditions as me. Additionally, learning to be more sensitive of others’ ways of living helped me discover and overcome some of the cultural biases I did not acknowledge before. While I understand that working on cultural competence is a mission, not a goal, being able to study abroad has highlighted some of the areas that I must work on to develop stronger cultural competence skills.
Traveling independently was something I used to be afraid of doing. Being able to plan and execute independent trips around Italy was something I am definitely proud of accomplishing! With the help from people who have done it before and improvisation skills, this process was a learning process I believe everyone should experience.
Although I did not learn Italian completely, I learned the importance of acquiring new languages! For this reason, I have set a personal goal to learn a language of my personal choice and travel to a country that speaks it!
I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone considering it! Any program that immerses you in a culture other than your own is an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.