Sondra studied in Italy on the IES Rome Summer Internship Program during Summer 2014.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
Living and experiencing a different culture is the best way to learn about it. I would never have truly been able to understand the Italian culture if I hadn’t lived it day in and day out. It allowed me to form valuable relationships that have made a lasting impact on my life. From the policeman and the guitar player I said hello to every morning on my way to work, to my roommates, teachers and co-workers. This is the message I hope to spread to other students through my IES Ambassador role – a study abroad program can truly change your life and provide lasting relationships.
Interning abroad has greatly impacted my future in every way possible. Through my internship I have gained skills including how to work in a foreign environment and how to adapt to a new culture. I will use the skills I gained in my future job, where I will be traveling globally. My experience has helped me realize my passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures. Academically my experience has helped me improve my Italian language skills and my business skills. Overall this experience has positively influenced me as a person, and has helped me to grow and broaden my horizons.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Adaptation is key during your time abroad. The differences between cultures is evident from the beginning of your trip. Small things we take for granted back home may not be available to you abroad. For example, a microwave and clothes dryer were nowhere to be found in my apartment in Italy. Back home I never had to think twice about how to quickly reheat a pizza or what to do with my wet clothes. In Rome, I learned to adapt. I arrived in Italy in a bubble, my guard up, and my old habits present. Over my time abroad I watched that bubble shrink until it disappeared. I adapted to a different culture and lifestyle. I learned to eat dinner at eight in the evening, enjoy the quality and taste of wine, and appreciate time with family and friends more than I already did.
Location: Rome, Italy