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mentor picture Amie
 
Amie
Senior Year Student
University of California, Los Angeles
I am an undergraduate women’s studies major at UCLA. I transferred here from Pasadena City College where I studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. Living abroad has been the single best thing I have ever done, personally... I am an undergraduate women’s studies major at UCLA. I transferred here from Pasadena City College where I studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. Living abroad has been the single best thing I have ever done, personally and professionally. I took Italian, anthropology, film, and art history while I shared an apartment with a classmate. We also traveled (backpacked!) around Europe during our break to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, and Luxembourg, as well as group excursions around Italy. I see now that there is so much more to gain from this experience if you make an effort to go out of your comfort zone (being with only classmates/Americans) and travel around while familiarizing yourself with the country’s government, economy, and history.

Responses

  1. There is financial aid from FAFSA which has deadlines for optimal funding every year, and there are also grants and scholarships that can be applied (look online through GlobalScholar.us and the Resources section on AllAbroad.us ). I studied abroad through my city college and I was surprised that most of us did not receive any financial aid for the trip because we were over the unit maximum for community college eligibility. This also means you should plan early (months to a year in advance) as to qualify for financial aid.
    3 answers – How to pay
  2. While there are fast food places, it is highly recommended that you avoid these places as often as possible. There are also familiar breakfast/snack items in the markets (at marked up prices), but when you are abroad, such as in Italy, you are surrounded by more fresh and less processed foods – a great opportunity for you to cook more often than you would at home! I found some recipes online through foodnetwork.com, and I continue to use the recipes today as I share my stories of where I learned to make them.
    4 answers – Health
  3. The generalized culture shocks of Italy are stylish men, amazing baked foods at every stand and bar, and iconic art history at every corner. There is the occasional man in a suit and skinny tie on a Vespa, the stiletto nightmares on the cobblestone streets, the difficulty of not eating at every display window, but there are also stares one is susceptible to when in another country. I found that as an Asian-American in Italy, people were very friendly and the only time I became aware of the fact that I was in another country was when my lack of language skills directed attention at my “foreignness.” I think that the confidence that language proficiency brings will help reduce culture shock on many levels.
    3 answers – While Abroad – Culture
  4. It is likely that parents will become anxious when considering that their child will live abroad without them. It is also likely that they will help pay for your trip. It is important to help ease their minds regarding the constant worrying that will occur about the safety and health issues. Many students skype, email, and/or call on a regular basis. I did this weekly with my parents while I was away for three months. Students and parents should also keep each other updated of any problems or concerns, providing for a much more settling and regulated experience. For example, my study abroad trip had a brief interruption where students were being threatened to be kicked out of our apartments because the study abroad program with the school failed to pay the landlords. Letting parents know about the problem right away helped get the problem to the college, where we successfully found another program in a timely manner.
    1 answers – Before You Leave
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