Summer In Italy: A Student’s Reflection

Hi, my name is Lexi and I’m a junior at Wesleyan majoring in Psychology. This past summer I had the opportunity of a lifetime to study abroad to Italy for a little over a month during the summer. Through this incredible opportunity I traveled with a group of people, mostly from different SUNY universities as this was a Stony Brook program, all throughout northern Italy for a week and a half before arriving and staying in Florence for 3 weeks. Through Summer In Italy I made so many fun, new friends and had so many great adventures while being immersed in Italian culture by my professors. 

My journey began in March of spring 2019. Around this time I began looking for different summer programs I could potentially apply to. I knew I wanted a program where travel and immersion into the culture would be prioritized so that I could leave hopefully more informed and educated about this culture and its history. Thankfully, soon after I discovered the Stony Brook program and it seemed perfect to accommodate everything I was looking for. Soon enough, after attending orientation, and selecting my classes, I was off to Italy.

After arriving in Rome, the first part of my study abroad was filled with intense traveling throughout Northern Italy for a course called Cultural Introduction to Italy. During this course we learned the history behind pivotal Italian landmarks, food, and fashion through interactive field trips that allowed us to truly engage with the space that we were in and learn from it. My personal favorite was seeing the Colosseum for the first time and learning about not only it’s use during Roman times but in later times as well. From Rome, we explored other beautiful places such as the Tuscan countryside and Cinque Terre. Our Italian professor, who taught the class gave us authentic historical accounts about how these places were and remain meaningful parts of Italian culture and history. 

After our time was over traveling through Northern Italy. We stopped in Florence and stayed there for 3 weeks. I loved being in Florence and appreciated the free time I had to explore amazing landmarks such as the statue of David and the Duomo. My friends and I even went venturing at night to discover some of Florence’s secret bakeries. While in Florence I took two courses at the Italian university FUA. The courses I chose were Elementary Italian and Italian Cinema. Through these courses I became further immersed in the culture through language learning and application as well as gaining insight into popularity and powerful Italian films. One thing I really liked about my courses was the professors emphasis on applying it to our time in Italy and forcing our studies to be integrated with our travels.

When it was time to head back to America, I was really sad. My time in Italy at exceeded all my expectations about what it wa going to be. The food, culture, and language had become a huge part of my life in such a short time span. I know I will always cherish my study abroad experience.