Posted by: claire.mangine | April 20, 2013

Last. Post. (for my capstone at least)

Oh, would you look at this. My last entry for this capstone project. Where has the time gone? This has been pretty fun, actually! I’ve interviewed some friends, some friends of friends, and other people who I became friends with after interviewing them.
This blog has really opened my eyes to the experiences other people had while studying abroad, whether or not they were in Italy like I was. I can’t lie that I was jealous while speaking with a few people because their semesters just seemed so incredible. But then again, so was mine! Just in its own way of incredible 🙂
I end the title of this blog with “at least” because for all I know, I’ll want to come back to it and add more!

I don’t just want to end this blog with a GOOD BYE. I’ll instead take this time to interview myself 🙂 I’ve been home for almost a year now (as of 4/27/12) and take any advantage to talk about being abroad. Well here’s a good one–my own study abroad blog!!

Study Abroad Destination: Perugia, Italy
When Traveled: Fall Semester of junior year (Sept.-Dec. 2012)
Program Traveled with: The Franciscan Heritage Program
Program Rating out of 10: 8
University Attended while Abroad: The Umbra Institute
Home University: St. Bonaventure University

Image

me climbing down the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Claire: How many people came from your university or were in your program total? Were they all American?
Claire: There were six of us total from Bonas. About 90-100 students total. There were four Italian students who also attended the school. They would take all their classes in English, but have office hours to help us with our Italian homework.

ImageHere’s all of us while on a trip to La Verna. L to R:
Carrie, Gabby, Sara, Alex, Abby, ME!


CM: What was your living arrangement? Were you in a dorm or with a family? What was the family like?
Me: I was in an apartment building in a home with two other Bonnies (above Carrie and Abby). Our apartment was tiny, but not even a 5 minute walk to our school (of course uphill). Abby and I shared a room. Carrie’s was clearly a small dining room with a bed thrown in there! Our neighbors were all Italian, including our neighbor across the hall who constantly sang or played opera music at all times of the day.

ImageThe room that Abby and I shared

CM: What other countries and cities did you travel to while in Italy?
Me: I traveled as far north as La Verna, Italy and all the way down to Sicily and everywhere in between. I also went to Ireland. England, France and Spain.

CM: What was your favorite country/city and why? What was your least favorite country/city and why?
Me: I loved loved loved Paris, as everyone knows. I also loved Galway, Ireland; Florence, Naples, and Pisa! I didn’t really dislike any cities, I just wish we had better weather when we went to Rome because it rained the whole time and really put a damper on our weekend (literally).

ImageMe under the twinkling Eiffel Tower. Casual.

CM: If you could give advice to a prospective study abroad student, what would you tell them?
Me: You need to go. When are you ever going to have the time to spend 4 months just traveling around another continent? Take advantage of your parents too…as they’re probably willing to help you with money while you’re in college. When will that happen again? This is the experience of a life time.

CM: What was your least favorite, and most difficult part of the experience? How did you over come these difficulties?
Me: One thing I dreaded was the language barrier in Italy. It aggravated me to a level I never knew I had. Yeah sure it did get better with time, but in situations when doing the most simple thing, like heading out to dinner, were stressful because we couldn’t read the menu, I would get so frustrated. I also hated grocery shopping. Walking with heavy bags all the way down to the tiny grocery store was my least favorite thing about my daily life. There was no real way to overcome this difficulty, I just had to accept it. However, finding a store closer to our apartment during the last two months was helpful, too. I missed Wegmans like WOAH.

CM:  How would you rate the program that brought you to Italy, and the University that you attended while you were there, out of 10? Consider the application process, the professors and staff being helpful, if they spoke English, were there interesting classes and field trips…
Me: I gave my program an 8 out of 10 because I didn’t really like my abroad school. I wish I was somewhere with way more people! Being in that small one-hallway school seeing the same people every day got old fast. However, our director, Dr. Chiariello and his wife brought us over and did all our paperwork for us before hand. The application process was very easy. The staff at Umbra were mostly Americans so they were a huge help when trying to plan a trip or helping us fix the (many) power outages in our apartment.

ImageMy roommates and I holding up that ever-leaning Tower of Pisa. That day was hilarious

So, this is where we part for now. I’m so happy with how this blog turned out and I accomplished everything in it that I wanted to. I talked to some great people and got to hear about some great experiences. Thank you, followers and likers for keeping me motivated to write weekly! I appreciate all your support.

Good bye for now, and I hope this blog has inspired you to TRAVEL WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG.

xoxo/crm

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