International Studies & Programs

Slowing down in Italy

I started walking slower, taking more time in the grocery store, and eating slower at restaurants.

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Published: Wednesday, 20 Dec 2023 Author: Nicole Manzzullo

Nicole sitting on ornate concrete railing in front of lake in ItalyThis summer I studied abroad at an Italian medical university in Rome. My experience abroad enhanced my academic pursuits and career goals by helping me develop skills needed for working and studying in the medical field. My communication, resiliency, and leadership skills were all further developed through the classes, health related field trips, and hands-on laboratory experience.

On a personal level, my study abroad experience gave me more confidence in my ability to succeed at new tasks, and it improved my independence. I partook in solo excursions as well as group excursions throughout the experience. I had to plan these trips, navigate my group around new areas, and at times think quickly on my feet.

Studying abroad was valuable to me in many ways. Living in a non-English speaking environment helped me improve my ability to communicate because I learned how to communicate and express myself in different ways. I had to become resourceful and rely on body language, google translate, and communicating with my hands.

A common myth about education abroad is that one needs to speak the host country’s language. While abroad, I found it very Nicole looking at beautiful gold ceiling in a building in Romeeasy to communicate with others, whether they spoke English or not. Additionally, my study abroad held a couple of classes to teach us survival Italian when we arrived which was very helpful. Knowing a few basics of the language can go a long way.

From the host culture I also learned how to slow down in life. Americans are used to a fast-paced lifestyle which many other cultures do not live by. While abroad I still had to live a fast-paced lifestyle to be able to travel on the weekends and be in class five days a week, but I learned to slow down where I could. I started walking slower, taking more time in the grocery store, and eating slower at restaurants. Since I broke away from the go-go-go mindset, I was not stressed when traveling on the weekends or worried about what I had to do next. I lived in the moment knowing I wouldn’t be able to see everything which was okay. When I came back to the United States, I still remind myself to slow down when I can.

I am extremely grateful for this unforgettable experience as it has helped me grow as a person and experience the beauty that other parts of the world offer.

Name: Nicole Manzzullo
Status: Senior
Major: Human Biology
Hometown: Plainfield, Illinois
Program: Human Biology Summer in Rome