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By: Michael Malich

 

Living in Florence, I have been introduced to an entirely new world, new language and new forms of communication, and I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to experience this. Florence has been my home for almost three months now and I have learned so much already, especially in the classroom.

Italian 101. For someone that enjoys learning new languages, this is my happy place. You know what makes it really easy to learn a foreign language? To live and study in the country that you are learning it. Studying Italian in Italy is extremely invigorating because I get to take my knowledge directly from the classroom and apply it anywhere I go, whether that be the train station, the airport, a restaurant, or a coffee bar. Italian lecture is extremely important regarding the structure of the language and grammar, but Italian lab is where it gets really stimulating. This is when we take what we’ve learned into the city and try out using the Italian language. The first place I was taken in class was a coffee bar. Living in Florence, knowing how to order an espresso is pertinent to survival. In America, you go to a Starbucks, you order your average froufrou venti caramel Macchiato, skim, extra shot, extra-hot, extra-whip, sugar-free and you move on with your life. However, in Italy, whether you order a cappuccino or a shot of espresso, you take a seat and relax, something that is completely different than the American lifestyle and that I never would have known without the help and instruction of an Italian professor.

Knowing how to communicate in Italian is essential, because- I know this may be hard to believe – not everyone speaks English. We are living in a different country, and it is imperative and respectful to speak to someone in their native tongue, or at least make an effort and accidentally butcher the language as I sometimes do.

Studying abroad is something that I would recommend for everyone to experience. Through studying abroad, you are exposed to culture, history, traveling, outrageous and amazing food, and most importantly, the bonds you make with people from all around the world. I will never take for granted all of the knowledge I have gained, the bonds I have made, and the experiences I have had during my time in Florence. Florence has made a huge impact on my life and will always have a special place in my heart.

So, what do you think ?