Studying abroad a great experience

By on January 30, 2008

Studying abroad is something that I have wanted to do my whole life and I finally get to do it! I am a sophomore studying in Rome, Italy with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). Currently, we are in Florence for our three weeks of orientation but regardless, I am still having an amazing time!

I left John F. Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday, January 15, 2008. First, I traveled to London which was quite an experience. However, it was not as shocking as the experiences to come. Being from Staten Island, to be exact, I am used to big cities. I am used to watching my purse and taking care of myself. London also had a lot of the same products that we can find in America. I stayed in a Holiday Inn so things really were not all that different for me, except for the accent and currency.

When I arrived in Italy that Friday, the 18th, I slowly began to understand the meaning of culture shock. Suddenly, I was in an area where everyone knew what to do and what to say and I had absolutely no idea. Now I do understand and speak Italian, but not like a true Italian from Italy.

Europeans have their own way of doing things and all of a sudden, I was a foreigner among people who looked exactly like me. The worst part of the whole first day was that I knew exactly what I wanted to say but was too nervous to speak to them; I was afraid of messing up what I wanted to say. These Italians are classy; they dress impeccably well and have a certain air about them which made me feel quite incompetent.

Having been here a week already, I have finally begun to feel as though this is my home. Studying abroad is very different from living away from home at college. At least in Connecticut I can get shaving cream and my favorite breakfast cereal. Here in Italy I have to settle for their products and their way of doing things. I’m used to everything being open from at least 8 a.m. to 9 p.m, maybe 10 p.m. if you are lucky, but here the shops close every single day at around 1 p.m. and re-open at 2:30 p.m.

And the time difference! Italy is six hours ahead of the New York and Connecticut, so talking to friends and family is a challenge. However, it was a little difficult at first but it gets easier each and every day.

And once you begin to feel comfortable, you are better able to take in the beauty around you. I am surrounded by artworks created by the monsters of the Italian renaissance, including Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci. I am the luckiest girl in the world!

If you can study abroad, I strongly recommend it!


About Victoria Reitano


  1. playdayhora

    August 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Good day each and every one,

    I had been shown I could leave the latest message here to be able to introduce personally.

    I just registered with your forums and ‘m trying to work out exactly how every little thing works out.

    My personal name is actually Rick Lawsons and am the mom of two fabulous little children.

    I am married for 9 years to Tom and together we tend to be extremely happy.

    I hope to meet a lot of nice people who think likeminded.

    Kindest Regards,

    Ricky L,


  2. Meaxiawat

    September 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

  3. Enriffveige

    September 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  4. Phymmerurse

    October 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm