In collaboration with their colleges, many students at SRISA only have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in Florence. Despite this, there are students that are considering or have decided to stay with SRISA for a whole year. Due to the interest in finding out to which extent the study-abroad experience is different if you stay a whole year compared to one semester, I have interviewed some of the students that are staying in Florence with SRISA until May.
I started by asking how the semester has been so far. Meghan´s first words are “It’s been fabulous!”. Megan, among many other students at SRISA, has used her time in Florence to emerge herself into the Italian culture: “I am using this time in Florence trying to live like a local. Me and my friends, we don´t go to the touristy places”. Despite this, she does not feel fully apart of the Italian culture, mainly because she has not yet mastered the Italian language: “I am speaking English, so I could improve. I want to become even more like a local”. This is one of several reasons for extending ones stay in Florence.
Meghan Curran, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
For Logan the first semester in Florence is all about acclimating yourself into the new culture: “It did take me a little bit to be comfortable. The benefits of staying a full year is that you get the first 4 months to fully acclimate yourself, and then the rest of your time to actually dig deeper into the culture. You will get to do things that you would probably not do the first 4 months.” Staying one year, seems to be decisive for feeling affiliation to a new city. This is something Christian fully agrees with, who also wants continue making new experiences in Florence.
Logan Shary, from McMurry University
Christian Rodriguez, University of North Texas
In contrast to this, Sam already feels like home: “I absolutely love it here, I feel at home.”. Sam, as many others, attends a big school at home. For her, being a student at a small community like SRISA has opened the opportunity of creating personal relations: “People ask you how your day is, here I feel that people really care.” This is something I believe many of the SRISA students can relate to. Everyday when we arrive to school, the staff by the desk greet us with smiles and have all an interest in how we are doing. Most people have a great connection with their teachers, and get the academic feedback they need to learn as much as possible during their stay.
Sam Hefner, Virginia Commonwealth University
There is another aspect of staying a full year at SRISA, and that is the interest in having an internship or a job. This is something Nara is aiming for next semester. For her that would be a great opportunity to better her resume. Nara also points out that staying a full year would be necessary for creating longer lasting relationships, also: “I would like to have better relationships with the people that I have met, but I feel like that 4 months is not enough time to do that.” Nara wants to stay with SRISA one year to fully carve her own space in Florence and create stronger relationships to both locals and her American friends.
Nara Seymour, Guilford College
As you can imagine, there are many valid reasons for wanting to stay one year instead of a semester with SRISA in Florence. We are all excited to see how this year in Florence will turn out, because until now our stay has been nothing but “fabulous”.
Mie Rygh Reianes just finished her high school education at Stavanger Katedralskole in Norway, with science as her major and she is a #StudyAbroad student at SRISA for the 2018-2019 Academic Year.