Some of our American Students, who joined our Faculty Led Program at Accademia Italiana in the summer 2015, would like to share with us their impressions and feelings about their Study Abroad experience in Italy and in Salerno.
Why did you choose Accademia Italiana for your Study Abroad?
I chose Accademia Italiana because it was a program that was affiliated with Ole Miss and there were great reviews from students in the past who have done this program.
What was your favorite part about Salerno?
My favorite part about Salerno was the daily interaction with my host family. They were so warm and welcoming and the language barrier really encourages the utilization the Italian curriculum. I was excited to show them what I had learned and communicate on a more advanced level.
What made your experience studying abroad in Salerno unique?
My experience was unique because I had never traveled to Italy before and I was excited to experience all that it had to offer and further my language skills. The location of the program, being in Salerno, is unique because it surrounds you with non-english speaking Italians, rather than in Rome where almost everyone spoke English due to the tourism.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The local staff were incredible and made the program fun and enjoyable. They are so patient and understanding of the difficulties of language immersion and took the time to work through and explain any issues that we had.
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
My typical day in the Salerno program started by waking up and making a piece of toast with Nutella followed by some fresh fruit and espresso. Then I would gather my school binder and journal and head out with my roommate for Accademia Italiana. It was less than a ten minute walk from my host family's apartment and I enjoyed the small town scenery on my way. Once at the building we would buzz-in and walk up to the floor of the school. Class sizes were small and it helped everyone have more one-on-one time with the teacher. Classes were intense and used little to no English, which really encouraged our comprehension of Italian. We would have an early afternoon break from class to go and grab a coffee or light snack before heading back into class. This was a nice relief and we usually went across the street to the small café and grabbed a cappuccino and pastry. After classes were over all the students would gather in the computer room for a presentation given by different members of the staff. The presentation topics varied from "Italian Gestures" to "The Evolution of Italian Cuisine" and they were a time for group discussion. After school my roommates and I would walk back to our host family's home to wash up and finish our journals for the day. Dinner was served at 8 o'clock each night during the weekdays and it went through the night ending around 11 o'clock. There were multiple courses served and all were fresh and homemade, basically the best food I have ever tasted in my entire life. We would toast with red wine throughout the meal and then near the end we would drink a dessert liquor and head to bed to do it all over again in the morning.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time I liked to walk around the town of Salerno with my friends and explore the many shops and restaurants. We would meet new people from all over Italy and the world. It was quite a bit of walking and I was so glad that I packed good shoes!
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
My accommodation made my Salerno experience that much better. My host family was so incredibly patient and welcoming to my roommates and me. They had a two story apartment and owned the entire floor of their building so there were multiple bedrooms and a lot of space for all of us to inhabit. It was a beautiful apartment with a large terrace that overlooked the entire city of Salerno. We were so thankful to our host family and still keep in touch through social media.
Now that you're home, how has your time in Italy impacted your life?
My time in Italy will forever impact my life for the better. It was such an enriching experience that you can only get from full immersion into a foreign country. I've wanted to go back as soon as I left! My language skills were rapidly increased due to the communication attempts at home as well as at the school. I was surrounded by fellow classmates who were just as eager to increase their Italian language level and that was so encouraging for the language development. Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Accademia Italiana family and I highly encourage anyone interested in learning the Italian language to do the Salerno program.