My experience studying abroad in Siena, Italy is one of my fondest memories. I made some amazing friendships with people I still keep in touch with, traveled to beautiful locations, ate amazing food, and fell in love with Italy and its people.
I attended the Siena School for Liberal Arts in Spring 2016 as a Junior from Mount Holyoke College, where I majored in Art History and Photography. Myexperiences in Italy really taught me about myself and it was one of the first times in my life where I felt at home in a different country. Before studying abroad, I wouldn't have dreamed of being able to communicate in a different language or live with a host family. However, learning to speak the language allowed me to understand Italian culture better, and I have since continued to learn and speak Italian back in the States.
Studying abroad pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am now more comfortable traveling by myself and going to places where I don't speak the language. After Studying Abroad, I definitely got bit by the "travel bug", so much so, that after graduating from college, I decided to walk the Camino - a pilgrimage route in the north of Spain that is around 500 miles from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela. I wouldn't have walked the Camino if I hadn't studied abroad, and both experiences have given me more hope in humanity and in the kindness of strangers.
Studying abroad also influenced what I am doing now. Through my photography course with Jacqueline I found that I had a continued passion for photography and I have since been working at a photography not-for-profit in New York City, called Aperture Foundation that connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other. Currently, I am a Special Events and Membership Work Scholar at Aperture but I will be returning to Italy in January to assist an Art History professor from my alma mater for a brief time. I hope to one day live and work in Italy, but for now, I'm taking one step at a time.
Siena School for Liberal Arts student, spring 2016