Mandy is from Florida and graduated from Florida Southern College in 2013. She is currently living in New York City and hopes to plan a trip back to Europe in the fall of 2015.Interviewed on - 7 May 2015
What inspired you to apply for an international program?
I had a strong desire to travel and wanted to do it in a setting where I could meet other people who shared the same enthusiasm of exploring the world as me.
I decided to study abroad right after I graduated from college to add a unique characteristic to my resume, so I choose a month long program in Florence!
Florence is an amazing city! Not too big that it is overwhelming and not too small that you get bored, but a perfect size with many things to do, see, and learn.
There was not one thing that surprised me most, everyday and every new place I went even if I was just walking down a back street in Florence it was always amazing and beautiful!
The people who worked for ISA were very nice and attentive. They made you feel welcomed and comfortable in a new country.
The staff office was always open if you had questions, concerns, or wanted to sign up for a group trip. They did their best to assist you in anything you needed.
I wish I would of done a whole semester in Florence and taken more courses at the university.
The hardest part about studying abroad was buying foods from the market. I have a gluten allergy so I had to learn what to look for in Italian on the labels. Ended up turning out fine because Italy has a large selection of gluten free products.
It was not as difficult as I thought to communicate with the locals. I picked up the basics and a lot of Italians I interacted with daily knew the basics, if not more, of English.
I took one course for the month I was there which was in the afternoons. I would go for a run and explore the city in the mornings or go to museums or gardens. Then I would go to class in the afternoons and on the weekends I would travel to a different city in Italy.
My favorite activity was to simply walk around Florence and go down new streets everyday learning as much as I could about the culture and atmosphere!
I lived in a three bedroom, two bath apartment with five other girls. I really liked that I had five roommates, we bonded quickly and did a lot of things together.
I feel it has made me more open to new things, people, and experiences.
One thing I wish I would of known before studying abroad in Italy would be to have learned more about the culture and style of Florence and Italians in general.
If I could study abroad again I would love to go back to Italy and stay longer, or my second choice would be Ireland because I have Irish heritage.
The biggest benefit of studying abroad was getting to learn about a new culture in the best way possible, being immersed in it.
Yes, I would absolutely recommend ISA to other students.