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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Lindsay in Italy

Lindsay Ciardelli ’19 who is majoring in Sociology and Anthropology is studying in Milan, Italy.

Currently, I am sitting at my favorite local café called Madamadore in Milan, Italy just outside of my university- I come here almost every day at 1:30pm (Central European Time). Our professors prompt all students to take a coffee break in between courses which enables us to have some time to process information presented in our class session and beyond, which is contrasting to American norms. However, I also use this time to unwind in general and think about how extravagant this experience abroad really is. So, right now is the perfect opportunity to do some processing in regard to my transition from the United States to Europe thus far. As I reflect on my past weeks abroad, I can say that I have learned not only about the unique Italian culture surrounding me, but I have also learned a tremendous amount about myself as a person and what I am capable of. I believe it takes a certain amount of personal independence and resilience to make lifestyle changes on almost every level. For instance, these changes include interacting with new and diverse people on a daily basis (who speak a total different language than yourself), finding your way around a complex city where almost everyone travels on foot, adapting to different learning styles in the classroom, and even modifying your relationship with food as this culture values fresh, traditional cuisine as opposed to processed goods. The alterations indicated above are only a few shifts that I have made since being in Italy and it has only been nearly five weeks!

            One of my favorite components about this country is the apparent ecofriendly mentality. I have realized that the overall functionality of Milan leads to a more sustainable mindset that I was not prepared for prior to my arrival and I have come to really respect it. For an example, residents are required to pay for their plastic grocery bags at the store. Also, it is mandatory to separate the garbage material from recyclables at home, otherwise you’ll be subjected to a hefty fine by city authorities. Lastly, public transportation is more advanced, therefore there are less toxins in the air from automobile emissions. In the future, I aim to apply this outlook and these ethics to my own culture to promote positive environmental change, especially as I enter the workforce within the next couple of months.  

            Finally, being abroad has allowed me to generate immense perspective in many realms of life. Without this experience, I would have no idea what it is like to completely indulge myself in a setting and way of life much different than my own. It is important to understand that every region of the planet operates distinctly depending on the culture present. While studying international relations and pursuing a career in international business, I believe that my acquired wisdom abroad will assist in my ability to contribute to larger conversations regarding differences in global socioeconomic standing and permit me to offer a wide range of solutions to many problems around the world. I would like to take the time to express my gratitude toward G. Dale Smith and Ruth Peterson Smith for awarding me with the Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund to help with my study plans throughout the Sacro Cuore program and my travel endeavors overall. I am very thankful for their donation to my success!