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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

My Life in Italy – CET Educational Applications

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Written by George Padron (Vanderbilt College), Scholar Correspondent for CET Siena, Fall 2023

How I selected the CET Siena program

One in every of my largest goals since I used to be a baby was to journey the world. I grew up in a suburban city in southwest Florida the place there was little to see or do. Exhausted by all of the tall grass and flat landscapes typical to my hometown, and I yearned for extra. I yearned to see mountains, valleys, and fascinating locations with precise historical past—I wished to expertise one thing extra. So when my Pc Science lecture was interrupted by college students promoting a program for Siena, Italy with lessons for my main, I knew what I needed to do. 

As quickly as I might, I rushed to make an utility and join this new program. I needed to soar by just a few hoops— particularly, the truth that I didn’t actually have a legitimate passport but, however I got here by the tip of it. Simply final week, I used to be lastly boarding the airplane to Europe and leaving my hometown behind. I used to be excited and prepared for a brand new journey, to satisfy new individuals, and to know an entire new world. However I don’t suppose I used to be actually prepared for the way totally different it might be. 

A shallow fountain with water in Siena, Italy

The Magnificence in my Life and Siena

My time in Italy to date has definitely been an eye-opening expertise. It has challenged me and my beliefs in methods I couldn’t have even comprehended only some weeks in the past. To be utterly trustworthy, I used to be not ready for the way a lot my life would change solely and totally coming into this new expertise, so let me share a few of the issues I skilled in order that they don’t catch you off guard as effectively. 

A view of a narrow street in Siena, Italy with buildings layered on both sides

Maybe although, one thing that gained’t shock you is the fantastic thing about Italy. My earlier semester had given me an exquisite view of an enormous brick wall, so I didn’t have a lot expectations for what I used to be going to be given for room and board on this semester. So think about my shock when the view from my window is simply so excellent. A stream of buildings stream out in direction of the horizon till they empty out into the attractive countless sea of tuscan hills and valleys. I’ve by no means had a extra lovely view in my life— and that was simply the view from my room.

The town streets of Siena are among the many most lovely and historic on the planet. Siena is a metropolis that was established across the medieval and early Renaissance durations of Europe, and it’s certainly one of, if not probably the most, well-preserved medieval cities in your entire world. Your complete metropolis appears like one is at a theme park like Disneyworld— besides as a substitute of plaster and low-cost facades, it’s actual, genuine historical past. And whereas that may really feel wonderful at first, it comes with some downsides. 

Some Changes to Life Overseas

As an American coming over to Europe for the primary time, I wanted to regulate to many issues. Some issues have been small, just like the Euro not having a 1 greenback invoice equal and as a substitute utilizing cash for values lower than 2 {dollars}, or how in Europe taxes will not be tacked onto the ultimate worth of a purchase order, not like within the US. Some issues are very huge, like getting used to not having an AC in the home and as a substitute having to open the home windows at night time to get even a sliver of small air to enter the home. 

Absolutely the largest factor I’ve needed to modify to, nevertheless, is the language barrier. As a Hispanic, I received a little bit bit cocky earlier than coming over right here as a result of Italian as a language appears and sounds similar to Spanish. I assumed I’d have the ability to decide up the language rapidly and even mix in with the locals with my Spanish data. However I couldn’t have been extra unsuitable.

Though there are lots of superficial similarities, the Italian and Spanish languages are two distinct languages, and studying learn how to communicate and talk correctly by the language barrier has been a battle. Fortunately, virtually everybody I’ve met right here has been in a position to perceive me and talk effectively sufficient with both English, Spanish, or the little damaged bits of Italian I’ve picked up in my first week or so. However, making an attempt to type a deeper reference to the locals has confirmed more difficult. 

View of Siena homes, greenery, and mountains on the far right on a cloudless day

Regardless of all of the hurdles, I do consider that this expertise has been actually eye-opening and optimistic for me. I’ve solely been right here for a couple of week and a half, however I see my life— each the way in which it was now and the way in which it was earlier than— in a brand new mild. 

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