“Everyone loves an Italian girl.” I had the witty phrase plastered across everyday items ranging from clothing to notebooks back when I was still young enough to consider a screen-printed T-shirt a fashion statement. Even without me broadcasting my heritage via overpriced school supplies, people still never make it very far past my dark features and whopper-of-a-last name without asking, “So, are you Italian or something?”
I have a Nonna who tells me, “aspetta,” when I am in a hurry; I was 13 before I knew that it was possible to buy spaghetti sauce in a jar—I thought all moms spent hours in the kitchen simmering their homemade marinara; I frequently knock things over when I talk because my hands get too involved in the conversation; I am Italian and proud of it.
We finally said goodbye to the last, lingering snowflakes; we welcomed spring with open arms and Indiana’s beautiful, Bloomington campus is, once again—alive with birds, flowers and students with a springy-spring in their step. While many of my classmates are retiring their backpacks for summer, I am counting the days until I board the cross Atlantic flight to one of my biggest dreams. My departure time is so close, I can taste it.
Friends, family and even a couple of nice, Italian ladies who I met all tell me that I will fall in love with Italy—especially Florence—and that I may not want to come home at the end of my six weeks. Our first study abroad informational meeting, held last week, only reaffirmed what I have been told for months now. As our Program Directors, Prof. Andrea Ciccarelli and Prof. Caleb Weintraub, summarized our coursework to be completed abroad and clarified potentially blurry cultural boundary lines, I grinned at the thought of myself tripping on the cobblestone streets as I hustle to the next museum for class.
As IU students, we are privileged to have a brilliant spectrum of study abroad opportunities available to us. I found the perfect program for my interests, my degree requirements, my schedule and my dreams. I hope that my written and photographed record of what could be the six greatest weeks of my life will be displayed to entertain my fellow classmates in need of some culture beyond their local pool and to inspire my peers waiting to seize that perfect study abroad opportunity.