Within the past few weeks in Europe, Italy never ceases to amaze me. From the language, culture, and the education I’m attaining in the classrooms, I’m most grateful for the opportunity to utilize these practical skills within the Italian community.
My daily life starts out with breakfast set on the dining table. From a variety of bread options including croissants to different types of jam and Nutella spread, all are included with a shot of espresso. Taking my shot of espresso and croissant on the go, it takes me approximately 30 minutes to walk to school. Within the p-
ast month, I’ve becoming more familiar with the routes and the friendly greetings, “ciao” from people I’ve encountered on the way to school.
My schedule is often packed with homework assignments and readings. In addition to 9 hours of class requirements, we are also required to do a minimum of 10 service hours a week as well. From a variety of choices including teaching English to Italian children, coordinating an English conversation group for college students, to developing programs for the immigrants, or providing a sustainable platform development for future students to get involved, my classmates are all investing our ideas and time into what we are most passionate about.
With my personal interests, I chose to teach English at an elementary school, coordinate an English Conversation group, and providing a sufficient program development for future students at Siena Italian Studies to get involved with. After a long day of school and work, my kindest host parents, Fabrizzio and Letizia, welcome me home. We usually have dinner together at 8:00 pm every night and converse in Italian over our daily stories or over the different cultures and languages. After dinner, I would usually lounge on the sofa for a good 20 minutes to watch Criminal Minds, blue blood or NCIS dubbed in Italian with my mother.
Within the past month in Siena, Italy, I have to say that the ‘excitement’ phase is slowly becoming more settled. The routine is becoming familiar as the Italians would say “Le sempre solite cose.”Realistically, there are days when I find myself simply frustrated. Exerting a lot of my energy on my assignments and service works, I’m crazily multitasking in such a short amount of time. The BIG QUESTION is, “how do I find a medium balance at this time?”
The language and cultural barriers are just as difficult on some days as well. There are times where I do feel frustrated over how I cannot fully convey my thoughts aloud in Italian with my host parents. As difficult as it is to maintain a cool composure, I try to acknowledge that it’s normal to feel the way I do.
After all, there is not a day where I’m not fascinated and thrilled to enhance my knowledge on international education while having this knowledge applicable to my service works. From not knowing anything about the Italian culture or the language, I am proud to say that I could now order food in Italian and able to speak basic Italian phrases with my host family. It’s simply delightful when we are able to converse without the constant use of Google translate, and so satisfying when we constantly laugh over our miscommunications.
So by the end of the day of chaos and exhaustion, I lie here thinking how phenomenally grateful I am for the chance to be in Italy, the chance to be educated, to serve, and to learn first-hand about the Italian culture and language from my lovely host-parents. Overall, I am grateful for having the courage to discover and expose myself to something I’ve never yet experienced- the beauty of it all.
So, as my Italian papa would say, “Lavita passa troppo velocemente, pertanto goditi il momento.” (Life passes by very quickly so try to enjoy the moment).