Alumni Spotlight: Sydney Holloman-Pressley


Sydney Holloman-Pressley studied abroad in Ascoli Piceno, Italy from September 2012 until December 2012. She grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2009 she moved to Durham, New Hampshire to attend the University of New Hampshire. She graduated from UNH with her Bachelors degree in Sociology and her Masters in Elementary Education. Sydney, currently 23, is now living in Osaka, Japan teaching English to Japanese children and adults.

Describe your most meaningful souvenir and why you love it?

My most meaningful souvenirs are all my pictures from Italy. Once I returned home I printed off all the pictures my friends and I took while in Italy and I put them in to a photo album.

During the first month or two of being home I was really missing Italy, more than I could have ever anticipated. Having all those pictures in one place that I could look at whenever I wanted was extremely helpful. When I looked at the pictures it was almost as if just for the second I was back in Italy again.

If you could do-over one thing, what would it be?

If I could do-over one thing, it would be my entire trip. Here’s the catch though, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it; I would just re-live it all again. I had the best experience in Italy and if I were given the chance to do it all again I would do it exactly the way I did it the first time.

While I was in Italy I took a trip with two of my very close friends to Bologna and Parma and at the end of the trip I decided to return home early. Unfortunately, my Italian was not very good at this point in my stay in Italy so I ended up getting on a train that dropped me off about 7 hours away from where I actually lived. And consequently I ended up having to pay way more than I anticipated to get back to Ascoli. But even with that experience, I would do it all again, exactly the same, because being lost in Italy was by far the best time I’ve ever had being lost!

What is one piece of advice you'd give future students traveling with your program?

My first piece of advice is, if you are hesitant about going…GO! You will not regret it. Italy is an amazing country with a beautiful language, and culture and people. With the particular program I went with through the University of New Hampshire you stay in a town called Ascoli Piceno which just so happens to be one of the most amazing towns in Italy (although I will admit I am quite biased after having lived there for three months).

Another piece of advice I would give them is to travel as much as you can while you are there. Traveling in amongst the various European countries is fairly cheap if you are already in Europe.

But even if you don’t have any desire to see the rest of Europe then just travel around Italy. While Ascoli is amazing, my experience in Italy wouldn’t have been even half of what it was if I didn’t travel all around Italy as well.

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

My all time favorite food I had in Italy was a pasta dish called Amatriciana. I could describe it in great detail now or anyone and everyone who is thinking about traveling to, working in or studying abroad in Italy could make the right choice and GO and try it for themselves.

I think I’ll pick the latter option. I will say this though, it is the best pasta dish I have ever had in my entire life and I’ve eaten a lot of pasta.