Monday, January 26, 2015

Bella Italia: Preparing For A Winter Intersession in Florence, Italy

Jennifer Giordano, Verrazano Class of 2017, has been awarded a Verrazano Study Abroad Scholarship to help support her winter study abroad experience in Florence, Italy this January.  Jennifer is a History major with a minor in Italian Studies.  Below, Jennifer shares why she decided to study abroad and how she hopes to grow through the experience.

Jennifer prepares to spend the winter in Florence, Italy.
For the past two years, I have been told the same phrase multiple times and although it was said by different people, it always sounded the same: “You will only grow when you step outside of your comfort zone.” I could not understand why everyone was under the impression that I needed to step outside of my comfort zone in order to grow. I have always disagreed with the implication that I needed to be uncomfortable in order to transform myself. I knew long before college that I wanted to study abroad. I had always been intrigued by the cultures of other countries and how people live their daily lives. I intended to travel to Italy in the most comfortable way I could possibly think of, and that was with a reputable program associated with my college with the company of a few of my good friends.

At first, I considered studying abroad for the whole semester. I tried to recruit as many people as I could. I brought it up so often I noticed people were starting to avoid me. I took this as an indication that most people weren’t as willing to leave their lives for a whole semester as I thought they would be. When I really thought about it and considered my own disposition, I realized that traveling for a whole semester wasn’t what I was comfortable with either. Now, naturally, I had this internal battle with the whole comfort zone situation. Was I limiting myself? Was I challenging myself enough? In the end, I decided that winter intersession was the perfect medium. I would feel comfortable enough to allow myself to be uncomfortable, because I had some great friends to travel with and a beautiful language and city to look forward to.

The winter intersession fits the profile of who I am and what I want to accomplish as a sophomore college student. After declaring history as my major and Italian as my minor, Italy was the perfect place to achieve exploring both of my passions. For the future, my experience in Florence, Italy will be transformative on a whole new level. Although I’ve been to Italy before, studying abroad is a very different type of experience. Traveling alone, studying alone, and being a part of the daily Italian lifestyle will provide me with a whole new outlook. Spending this winter abroad in Florence, Italy will be a truly wonderful experience. I intend to use this experience to fully explore myself, my studies, and to represent The Verrazano School Honors Program.

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