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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Taylor in Florence, Italy and London, UK

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Taylor Henderson ’16, a double major in SOAN and English literature currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy as part of the 2015 ACM London/Florence Program.


My name is Taylor Henderson, and I am currently a junior studying abroad in Florence, Italy as a part of the 2015 ACM London/Florence Program. I’m enjoying every moment of my study abroad experience that is full of such richness in the Italian culture. Everyday it feels surreal to follow in the same paths of extinguished Italian figures such as Machiavelli, Dante, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. My three classes contribute to my hands-on experience with Italy: Rhetorical Florence taught by Lake Forest professor, Linda Horwitz; The Medici as Patrons of the Arts; and an Italian language course.

Outside of the classroom, my Italian language skills are steadily improving with the help of my Italian homestay. My favorite part of my study abroad experience is living with a host family. Initially, I had difficulty communicating, but living with an Italian host family and using the language everyday has helped me overcome the language barrier. In fact, I am very confident in my ability of speaking and understanding the Italian language.

I believe cultural immersion is an important aspect of studying abroad and sometimes it can be difficult. For example, Italian etiquette and formality when it comes to addressing individuals, taboos, and meals is a major difference to the American culture. I am thankful for my Italian host mom who has transitioned me into understanding the do’s/don’t. For those considering studying abroad in the future, I cannot stress the importance of learning about the country in which you will live. It’s one of the most important aspects of learning another culture and can greatly influence individuals study abroad experience if they’re not familiar with what is going on.

Studying abroad has provided me with the opportunity to understand who I am and grow as a young woman. I’m not only learning about myself, but also meeting new people from all over the world who are teaching me about their own culture. It’s bittersweet to know that my time in Florence is coming to an end as I continue my second half of the semester in London, UK.

I would not be studying abroad without the help of Lake Forest faculty and staff. Especially, thank you to G. Dale Smith ’37 and Ruth Peterson Smith Scholarship for Study-Abroad Programs and the Mary Anne Pickett Toner ’65 Prize scholarships for supporting my travels and studies.



Taylor Henderson ’16