RAV67's blog

Home Sweet Home by the Duomo

The housing for my specific program was all apartments. My program leaders saw it as a way to fully immerse us into the culture and lifestyle of Italy, so we lived in apartments all across Florence. I had 7 roommates, which was the most that one could have. At first this overwhelmed me, as I had never lived with a roommate before—much less 7 strangers. When we arrived in Florence, we stayed at a hotel the first night while our apartments were being prepared for our arrival. It was there that I met 2 of my eventual roommates, and we instantly got along very well.

Classroom Italian Edition

I decided to take a painting course while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I have always been interested in creating art, but I never felt like I had the opportunity to pursue it. My class was small—less than 20 students—and we were all on an introductory level. On the first day, the professor took us out of the studio and into the city to buy our own art supplies. While it is typical to purchase your own textbooks in college classes, it was a new experience to go out with my classmates and buy what we needed for the class; it almost felt like a field trip.

Is “Food the Window to the Soul”?

I suppose it depends on who you ask. I know someone who thinks eating is overrated, so perhaps it may not be a universal truth. Regardless of this controversial opinion, for me, food is the window to the soul. Eating and enjoying food with good company is something that I value. It is an experience, a comfort, a chapter on life’s simplest pleasures. Food, and the care you put into its ingredients, can transcend language, bringing people together.

The Challenge of Perception

France, comme un reve, was rich in culture and natural beauty -- exceeding my expectations and presumptions about French life. Although Rennes was adorned with cobblestone streets and charming architecture, the ignorance and racism was overt. I was adopted from China as a baby and grew up in a predominantly white area in rural Pennsylvania. After taking many French language and culture courses over the past 8 years and my life experience as a POC, I assumed I was prepared to encounter the racial ignorance in France.

Don't Waste a Single Moment

Whether it’s specifically Plus3 Ireland or any other Plus3 program, the best advice I have is to make the most out of your time. The program is very short (only two weeks), and you will constantly be busy. The program really packs in a lot of activities such as site visits, lectures, and tourism opportunities and it can be exhausting. However, the exhaustion is worth it. The time really does fly by, and you don’t want to leave wishing you had gone to a certain restaurant, walked through a certain museum, or visited a certain sight-seeing spot.

Language Isn't the Only Cultural Barrier

My expectations going into my trip to Ireland were that I wouldn’t have too much of a hard time adjusting to the culture mostly because their primary language is English. I think one of the biggest challenges when traveling abroad is overcoming the language barrier, but that was not an issue for us on our trip. Yes, some Irish people have thick accents that take paying extra attention to understand, but there weren’t many difficulties when it came to communication.