Don't miss Sara's last blog of the semester, where she shares some great tips on how to keep in touch with the culture of your study abroad location after you return home!
My semester with CAPA Florence has officially ended. This semester took an unexpected major turn and I had to finish up the semester online in the United States because of COVID-19. I am sad that I am home and not in Florence, but I have tried to keep in touch with Italian culture at home. All students who study abroad can benefit from learning ways to continue their experiences with them even when it is over.
One way to keep in touch with the culture of your study abroad location is to cook your favorite meals you had abroad. At home, I have continued to keep in touch with Italian culture by making my favorite Italian meals for my family. I made “cacio e pepe” for my family, which is pasta with cheese and pepper. I have also made my favorite pizza from Florence with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, spicy salami, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. When I was in Florence, my friends and I would go to different restaurants for Aperitivo, which is a pre-dinner drink and a light snack. For Aperitivo, most people eat bruschetta, focaccia, pasta, or meats and cheeses. I made my family an Aperitivo with wine, cheeses, meats, and bread. The food in Florence was amazing, and I am trying to keep in touch with Italian culture by making my favorite Italian meals for my family.
Cacio e Pepe.
Another way to keep in touch with the culture post study abroad, is to continue to learn the language. I took Italian this past semester with CAPA, and I continued to learn it online at home. Now that my Italian course is over and I have more free time, I have been practicing Italian on Duolingo, a language app. Duolingo offers a variety of language courses for free that only take about 15 minutes a day. I recommend trying Duolingo or a language app to practice the language of your study abroad location to prevent yourself from forgetting what you have learned. Practicing Italian on Duolingo has allowed me to feel more connected with Italian culture even though I am no longer in Florence.
To stay in touch with Italian culture or the culture of any study abroad location, it is important to keep in touch with the people you have met abroad. I have stayed in touch with my friends, CAPA professors and staff, and my GANZO family. By staying in contact with the people that have made my study abroad memorable has allowed me to feel closer to Italian culture. I am sad that I couldn’t have spent more time with my friends but staying in contact with them and reminiscing has allowed me to transition much easier to being home in the US.
Even though my semester turned out much different than I expected, I have still learned a lot from my experiences both in Florence and the United States. I am extremely thankful for all the places I explored, the people that I met, and all that I have learned both in and out of Florence. Even though coming home half-way through the semester was not ideal, I have tried to incorporate my experiences in Florence to my life at home to transition easier and to feel more connected to my study abroad experiences. All study abroad students, not just students who had their study abroad experience cut short because of the pandemic, can benefit by carrying their study abroad experiences with them even when it is over.
Thanks for following my journey this semester with CAPA Florence. I enjoyed sharing my experiences and tips along the way. I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time.
Sara Shriber is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2020, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major with an International Business certificate at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Sarah's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.