In this week's post, Connor uses experience so far on his CAPA Florence program to debunk some myths you may have heard about studying abroad in Italy.
Before coming to Florence to study abroad, I had a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what my time here was going to be like. These notions came from my own head, what I read, or what other people told me they thought it was going to be like. After being in Florence for about a month, I realized a lot of these ideas were just myths. I am going to debunk some common study abroad myths in the following post:
1. I need to speak the language.
This is something I thought to be true while considering places to study. Now I am sure in some places around the world, it is almost necessary to speak the language while living there for 3 months, however in Florence that is not the case at all. Having never taken an Italian language class before coming to Italy, I have still been able to communicate effectively around Florence. Many Florentines speak English very well, particularly employees in the service industries. However, if there is a language barrier, I have still always been able to get my point across using hand gestures or trying the little amount of Italian I have learned since I arrived here.
The people working behind the counter at this deli were taking orders in Italian, English, and Spanish!
2. I can't study my major while abroad.
Many people believe most classes you take while abroad will not count for your major and might not even fill requirements to graduate. This is not the case. I am taking 4 courses while I am studying in Florence and they all are filling requirements for me to graduate. I am also taking 1 class within my major. There is a variety of courses that CAPA offers, so there is almost a guarantee at least one class is within your major.
You can take a variety of classes abroad. You can take some just because they interest you or some to fulfill your major!
3. Making new friends while studying abroad will be hard.
I was nervous starting the semester knowing nobody else in the program. But, almost everyone in the program is in the same situation. Everyone is looking to meet new people and make new friends! People are always looking to try new things in this wonderful city so I have been able to make so many new friends since I have been here.
Me and other CAPA students on a trip to Venice. There is no better way to make new friends than to travel with them!
4. It is too expensive.
While it can be expensive to study abroad, it does not have to be. There are a plethora of scholarships a student can apply to before even coming to Florence to help save money. Groceries and entertainment here are also quite cheap. Obviously, studying abroad can be more expensive if you choose to travel to different countries every weekend, but you can also book flights early and go through travel agencies to save money that way too!
There is usually a variety of different foods and prices on restaurant menus. So going out to dinner can still be cheap!
5. I will miss too many things back at home to go abroad.
There are things that you will inevitably miss back home while abroad, but there are so many ways to stay connected! I am able to text, snap chat, or call my friends and family back home on a daily basis to catch up. There are also so many new and exciting things to try in Florence that you do not worry much about what you could be missing back home.
While you might miss things at home, you get to experience completely new adventures while abroad. This is me and some friends experiencing a once in a lifetime view, watching the sunset while overlooking Florence.
All these things I was told worried me before beginning my program. Luckily, I am here to tell you that all the negatives you might hear before studying abroad are not always true!
Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Connor's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.