An Interview with My Ganzo! Family

Dec 12, 2018 7:00:14 PM / by Payton Meyer

What better way to learn about Florence than by turning to the locals? In this week's post, Payton interviews Giacomo, Sabrina, and Bianca from her Ganzo! family in Florence and gets their perspective on Florentine culture, food, things to do in the city, and cultural insights.

At this point in the semester, I feel like I’ve gotten to know my Ganzo! family pretty well, and, since they speak such good English, I thought I’d ask them a few questions for my blog this week and get some perspective on things from the locals here. To jog your memory: Giacomo and Sabrina, the parents, are both journalists, and Bianca is their 16-year-old daughter. Gregorio, the 13-year old son, decided to sit this one out. Here are some of the things we discussed during my last visit, over a huge pan of tiramisu that Sabrina made (she may have caught on that it’s my favorite!)

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Posted in: London, England, Local Culture, Cultural Differences, Cultural Immersion

On Representing the American Identity Abroad

Nov 30, 2018 10:27:00 AM / by Christopher Halka

In this week's post, Christopher reflects on what it means to be an American abroad and navigate questions about his country and culture. He also sheds light on the benefits of getting to know locals, along with their perceptions and cultural background.

Over the course of this semester, I’ve had a first-hand account of what other Europeans think and assume about Americans. Throughout the semester every day has been a learning experience for me in that regard.

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Posted in: London, England, Cultural Insights, Identity, Reflection, Cultural Differences, Personal Learning

Observing London's Diversity

Nov 15, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Mariah Thomas

Mariah Thomas

Mariah is an official CAPA blogger, sharing her story on CAPA World. A Journalism major at SUNY Purchase College, she is studying abroad in London.

In today's post, Mariah reveals her observations about London and its diversity, the areas that celebrated it and what reminded her of home, as well as the cultural differences she noticed.


I decided to study abroad because of the amazing opportunities I knew would come from it. I knew I would be putting myself in a foreign environment that I wasn’t used to. Surprisingly enough, the environment didn’t differ too much from back home. I was surrounded by a diverse environment where some areas were vibrant. In terms of adapting, their work environment was a bit "politer" than what I assume the Americans environment is.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Summer2018_From Mariah Thomas - Sitting Under a Floral Structure

My colleagues were not shy of being passionate during their conversations or discussing politics. It was also a usual thing to ask everyone if they wanted “anything to drink” throughout the day. It was a form of politeness I wasn’t used to.

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Posted in: London, England, Diversity Abroad, Personal Learning, Cultural Differences

Why Experiencing Other Cultures Helps You Better Understand Your Own

Oct 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Martyn Megaloudis

In this week's post Martyn reflects on how his interactions with people from across the globe and their perceptions of him as an 'American' has changed his own perception of US culture.

I had the opportunity to experience a community outside of my host city by traveling to Melbourne this week. I decided to stay in a hostel called The Nunnery, located in the heart of Melbourne in a neighborhood called Fitzroy. Built in 1888, The Nunnery is a beautiful Georgian style building that has an amazing interior. What was really special about the Nunnery was the variety of different travelers that I got to talk with. Getting to interact with so many different cultures had me finally taking into consideration my place as an American studying abroad.

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Posted in: Local Culture, Cultural Insights, Cultural Differences, Sydney, Australia

What Studying Abroad in the UK Taught Us

Oct 1, 2018 2:26:51 PM / by admin

Three students, three different skin colors, three different accents and three different backgrounds all studying media literacy abroad while enriching themselves in a new culture.

One from Washington D.C., attending Portland State University, one from Egypt who is also attending Portland State University, and one from Washington who is affiliated with Portland State through an adjunct professor of Washington State University. Each one of us is in London, a new destination for all of us, to study the same subject and experience the same culture. Since we come from varying backgrounds, we have varying perspectives and consequently have each had different learning experiences. Here are 5 things that we have learned about the UK from a student perspective.

From left to right, Rachel Jones, Yohana Lewis, and Anna Nelson

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Posted in: London, England, Personal Learning, Cultural Differences, Classes in London, Diversity Abroad

Living Like a Local in Florence: Embracing Differences and Adjusting Accordingly

Sep 18, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

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.

In this week's post, Connor shares the differences he's observed between his Florence apartment and apartments he's had in the US, as well as what he's doing to adjust to living like a local.


Living in a flat in Florence has been a completely new living experience for me. While there are many aspects of the living situation that are different, the setup of my apartment is standard compared to my apartment back home. It has 2 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It is slightly small but has all of the necessities a person needs.

My BedroomEach room has 2 people living in it. Each person gets their own desk and dresser as well!

There are several differences in appliances and utilities in Florence, or the lack thereof. The first is that there is no clothes dryer. We have a drying rack and lines outside our rooms to hang up our clothes for us to dry. I was slightly concerned before coming to Florence about how this would work or if it would ruin my clothes. However, after washing and drying my clothes for the first time I realized it is not as big of a deal as I thought.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Accommodation Abroad, Cultural Differences

Adapting to Social Behavior and Facing My Biggest Culture Shock in Shanghai

Aug 21, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Trisha Sanchez

Trisha Sanchez

Trisha is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An International Business major at Champlain College, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Trisha tells us about what social behavior and culture are like in China and encountering her biggest culture shock as an American to date.


A few Fridays ago we had our usual internship course for CAPA on the East China Normal University campus in Shanghai. That day, Professor Carol Ma gave us a brief lecture on some vital differences on business culture in a Chinese environment. One characteristic that stood out to me the most was the contrast in which Chinese and American people react to compliments. I learned that whereas in American culture it’s very typical to be lavished with compliments to one another, especially as a conversation starter, in the Chinese culture compliments are taken more as a serious interest. Something several of us have even experienced at our internships already is that if you compliment a particular object a Chinese person has, they will likely attempt to gift it to you. In the US, if someone you know seems to greatly admire one of your possessions, the typical thing to do is to tell the person where you obtained the object.

Exploring ShanghaiExploring the city.

However, in China it seems that the typical gesture is rather to bequeath the item to the complimenter that admires it so. I once wound up with an entire box of snake meat to take home with me because I mentioned a friend of mine would be interested in trying it!

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Cultural Differences, Personal Learning, Local Culture

Observing Italian Norms: La Bella Figura

Aug 9, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, and Studio Arts major at University of Colorado - Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Allyson draws from her classes and observations of Italian dressing and explains the philosophy of La Bella Figura.


An interesting thing about being abroad is you notice not just the big differences between your home and the new country you are in, but also the slight cultural differences such as clothing styles, eating preferences, and other social norms.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Summer2018_From Allyson Barnes - Looking Far into Florence

As an anthropology student, I have always loved analyzing the people around me, as strange as that may sound. I enjoy finding the little things that really make a person who they are. No matter what it may be, there are certain factors that define someone and I love getting to figure out what they are.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Insights, Cultural Differences

Representing the U.S. While Blending in as a Londoner

May 2, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Kelly Allen_London

Kelly is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Kelly shares how she's conscious of her representation of the U.S. while abroad and how she blends in as a Londoner in all aspects, including riding the Tube.


Loud, obnoxious, disrespectful—those are the stereotypes I assume most Europeans have of Americans. As a study abroad student, I’ve thought a lot about how I am representing Americans while abroad. Thinking about this has made me conscious of my behavior in relation to the stereotypes of Americans that exist.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2018_From Kelly Allen - Camden Tube StationAt the Camden Tube station.

While navigating my way through the Tube, I try to look like I know what I’m doing (which I often did, but I didn’t in the beginning). I make sure to walk on the left side unless there are signs stating otherwise or most people are walking on the right, so as to blend in with the crowd. This is something that even in America I tend to get annoyed by when people don’t walk on the “right” side. While sitting on the Tube, I mind my own business as most do and don’t make a lot of noise or eye contact.

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Posted in: London, England, Cultural Differences, Transportation

How Architecture Informs Culture and The Way We Live

Nov 8, 2017 3:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Thaddeus is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A BFA major at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, he is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Thaddeus pays special attention to the architecture and culture in the cities he visited over his fall break abroad.


After my fall break, I wanted to expound a bit more on some things I have learned as an American (or U.S. Citizen) abroad. While being in London has definitely been a culture shock, I have always felt as though this city, in particular, is still rather familiar to me as if I was traversing a city in the United States.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Fall2017_From Thaddeus Kaszuba - Amsterdam - People riding about the Canals to roam the city.jpg

While Amsterdam is typically known for being a safe haven for more "adult activities," one friend of mine referred to it as an "adult theme park," the city itself still has a historical core that can be found in its architecture. The U.S. has had much more opportunity to expand rather than centralize due to the vast space the country encompasses. However, visiting a city where efficient use of space is of vital importance was an extremely eye-opening observation for me.

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Posted in: London, England, Cultural Differences, Fall Break Abroad, Barcelona, Spain


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