A typical day in Reggio Emilia includes going to class and going to my favorite coffee shop/restaurant called Ghirba. It’s near my apartment and I would love to go there by myself and read a book and get a coffee. The people there are always so friendly and there’s always someone who knows some English who can help me read the menu. I liked this place a lot because they had healthy and unique options, and their menu is always changing. It was a nice break from the typical spaghetti. Which is delicious, but it’s good to switch it up once in a while.
End of my Internship Program: Preparing for Re-Entry & Maintaining my International Connections
We strolled through the beautiful Venetian streets capturing great photos and memories of our time there. My dreams coming true right before my eyes, seeing the spectacular city. I was so giddy that I didn’t care about only having four hours of sleep on the sixteen hour plane ride it took to get over here. My first flight was great! I was right behind first class, aisle seat next to two gentlemen who were very kind. That plane ride was only about five hours so I decided to stay awake so that I could sleep on my next flight that would be nine and a half hours. My layover was in Philadelphia and that airport is HUGE! I had to walk from one side to the other and it was about fifteen minutes (I’m guessing) and that whole walk was through a MALL! Serious! There was a GAP , Victoria Secret, Nike store, and more! That was crazy fun to walk through, but I didn’t want to stop to buy things, knowing I was going to Italy. My layover was two and a half hours, so I enjoyed a glass of wine while I waited. There was this big commotion going on where the planes got mixed up on us. We ended up getting a smaller plane than was planned. So they kept announcing over the airport intercom that there weren’t enough seats for everyone on the plane and that they were willing to give airfare credit and accommodations to a hotel and food in order to catch the next flight out the next morning. They needed five people to give up their seats and no one seemed to be taking the offer. The amount they were offering jumped from $500 to $1,000 for airfare credits. I almost took the offer, except I had plans to keep.
Prepping for International Adventure!
Some of the biggest takeaways from this experience were visiting so many cities in Europe, making new friends, growing as a person, being out of my comfort zone and learning from that, living in a different culture and gaining new perspective on home and my life.
“Change is the only constant in life” – Unknown
It comes to the day that I’m packing up my bags and saying goodbye to the people I call my friends. The people who I have been living with in a foreign country for the last four months…
There have been so many ups and downs, so many different countries, so many challenges with the unfamiliar that I’ve had to face and of course, so many fun days…
Honestly, it’s taken me a while to sit down and write this post because I’ve been thinking about how I want to share my experiences, and it’s taken me some time to integrate my feelings and experiences.
The first week or so I experienced a lot of mixed emotions and culture shock. I’m in Reggio Emilia, Italy, so it’s a very small town that only has a few restaurants (that I know about/ really love to eat at), all the food in the grocery store is different (duh), so I didn’t know what to make at first. A lot of businesses and restaurants close around lunch time, so many people aren’t out at that time, but much later in the night. Italians don’t say “excuse me” or “sorry” when they bump into you on the street, because they just have different gestures than Americans.
(Me jumping out of B’ham!)
Hello! My name is Carissa Loft and I am a senior at Western Washington University starting Fall 2017. I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology.
I am studying abroad in Reggio Emilia, Italy through the USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) program. The classes they offer are education, communications, health/nutrition, and Italian studies.
The time leading up to this trip has been stressful, exciting, scary, and overwhelming. But I would not trade it for the world. This is my first time out of the country (other than Canada and Mexico) and off of this continent. I am not excited for the plane ride(s) I am about to embark on, but the destination will be worth every second in the air.
I cannot wait to see where I will be staying, the sunsets in the morning and the amazing food after a long day of classes. To wake up there and believe I am actually there and not still dreaming. I plan on learning as much Italian as I can. The classes I am taking I hope will change my outlook on life and culture. I get to learn about the great artists of the past and the current ones in the cellars. I am lucky that my family has traveled and can give me much needed advice, tips, and tricks on how to travel well and travel smart. I am still nervous since I will be alone in the beginning but that’s a part of life right? New beginnings, and experiences that will hopefully lead to more adventures in the future. The resources Western and CEA offers have also helped prepare me for this trip, with setting up STEP and making sure I will be as safe as possible.
More pictures and stories to come!
Ciao Bella <3
If you’ve studied abroad, perhaps this evolution of thought sounds familiar.
You arrive to your new foreign home….
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