My name is Mary and I am a student at Ohio University. As a sophomore, I knew that I wanted to study abroad before I graduated and went out into 'the real world'. I was fortunate enough to have met with a few other students who shared their experiences during their times abroad. They informed me of CIS Abroad and how helpful they were with getting them set up and finding the ideal study abroad location for them.
Ever since I was a little girl I was crazy about Italy. No I am not Italian. And no its not because of my obsession with pizza or wine. Instead, it was because I loved their language and always thought of their culture as being romantic.
At the end of my sophomore year, I set sail (well actually via plane) to Italy. The program I was in was a 6 week session in the summer. When I arrived, not knowing a soul, I was warmly greeted by the CIS Abroad staff. They were full of answers to my many questions and made me feel like I was part of their family. I was also greeted in waves of the members that were embarking on the same journey that I was. The students were from all over the United States; Wisconsin, California, Ohio, Illinois.
The housing that was offered to me through the program was amazing! I stayed in a beautiful, authentic Italian apartment in the town of Perugia. I had one roommate, who was also a student abroad in the same program as me. We quickly became friends, which made things very fun when I wanted to explore -because I always had a friend close by to do those things with.
The schooling that was involved was intense but very rewarding. I came to Italy with two semesters of Italian and planned on finishing my last two semesters there. For me, learning a language was never easy. I barely even had the basics down in the Italian language before my study abroad trip. The teachers in Italy were so hands on and helpful that I picked the language up faster than I ever thought I could. Still to this day, over a year later, I correspond with the teachers I had -in Italy. Amazing learning experience overall!
The location of Italy where I lived was incredible. It was the small town atmosphere that I wanted that included little cafes and pizza shops. It was so nice to live in a smaller town because I became a regular at some places. One place in particular (I forget the name at the moment) sold fresh fruit smoothies and paninis. I used to go almost every day with my fellow classmates! We became so close with the sweet man that lived there. He would only speak to us in Italian and told of us of his journey from Algeria to Italy and how he always wanted to own a shop. Hopefully one day I go back and visit and he will still be there!
All in all, my study abroad experience was unforgettable. Still to this day I think about the amazing times I had in Perugia, Italy. It was challenging at times, but I am grateful because it shaped me as a person and put me out of my comfort zone. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone! CIS Abroad made my trip so enjoyable and I couldn't have asked for anything more.