BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott women's soccer rising senior Hannah Pesci (Windham, N.H.) recently studied abroad in Florence, Italy at the Florence University of the Arts. Here's what the hospitality management major had to say about her study abroad trip to Italy.
ECGULLS: Give us an overall description of your trip.
This past semester, I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy at the Florence University of the Arts. Upon our arrival in Florence for the semester, myself along with 30 other Endicott students were involved in a study tour, which exposed us to many historical cities throughout Italy. Once our week-long study tour came to an end, we then arrived at our residential apartments in Florence, where we would call home for the next four months.
ECGULLS: Describe your overall study abroad experience.
To be able to describe my overall experience studying abroad is nearly impossible to put into words. When people tell you "studying abroad is the best experience of your life," this is nothing short of the truth. Not only was I able to travel to many different countries and cities with some of my closest friends/teammates, but I was also able to experience new cultures, which allowed me to step out of my comfort zone.
ECGULLS: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?
For most people, moving to college is a big step, as it is the first time many of us are moving away from home. However, moving abroad to a foreign country for a semester is another set of emotions that I cannot quite describe. This experience not only allowed me to become more independent, but it also gave me a sense of what else is out there in the world beyond the walls of my cozy, comfortable college campus.
ECGULLS: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
The biggest lesson I learned during my study abroad experience was to welcome culture and new experiences with open arms. When living in an unfamiliar environment in terms of language, traditions, religion, cuisine, etc., it can be very overwhelming at times. However, I quickly found that these are the types of unfamiliarities I needed to be more open to. By letting this guard down, I was able to take in as much as I could within the four months of living in the beautiful city of Florence.
ECGULLS: Favorite experience?
My favorite experiences were the ones that were not necessarily always planned, but the ones that I would have only been able to discover by meeting new people. Not only was I able to come back to the US with new friends from Endicott, but I was also introduced to others from many different universities around the country as well. Through these connections, it made both traveling around Europe and living in Florence an unforgettable, yet comfortable experience, making it feel more like home.
ECGULLS: Describe the educational side of the program.
In terms of the educational side of the program, the classroom style set-up was very similar to what I was used to on Endicott campus. However, the content was not as familiar. With small classroom sizes, it allowed me, along with my other classmates, a personal educational experience. Due to this being a semester full of electives for myself, I was able to take classes that I wouldn't be exposed to during my studies at Endicott. This allowed me to uncover different interests of mine that I wouldn't have been able to discover if I wasn't involved within the FUA program. As it was common to have one to two and half hour class per day, with Fridays off, it left my weekends open to exploring new places, both within Italy and around Europe.
ECGULLS: Were there any funny stories from your trip?
With each trip to a new city, town, or country came a hilarious story. Most of which involved getting lost. One concept that will forever confuse me is the train system in Europe. As this tends to be a common way in which to get around places, one would think that this would become second nature. However, this was not the case! Whether it was hopping on the wrong train, running to make the train, sitting in the wrong seat on the train, or watching the train that you were supposed to be on leave the station, there was never a moment of clarity. In hopes to visit Europe again in the near future, my hope is that this so-called "simple concept" becomes simple for both myself and my classmates.
The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.
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(Photo Credit - Hannah Pesci)