I have always dreamed of visiting Italy. Thanks to a study abroad program, this life-long dream will soon be realized. To pump myself up (as if it’s necessary), I’ve decided to share the essay that I wrote in applying for said program:
Each and every time I introduce myself to someone new, I am reminded of my Italian heritage. With a name like Nicoletta Lanese I would be hard pressed not to be. I am reminded of playing bocce in the backyard, looking for my great grand parents’ names at Ellis Island, getting out the pizzelle maker at Christmas time, getting an inside tour of Ohio’s Little Italy from my aunt, laughing as my grandfather tells jokes in Italian, and shouting to be heard over dozens of my boisterous family members whenever we get together. Given my full-blown Italian-American experience, I’ve always dreamed of visiting the place where it all began.
I’ve never been to Italy nor do I speak a lick of Italian. The longer this statement remains true, the more restless I become. I yearn for the sights, tastes, and sounds of that mythical boot-shaped land and to have access to the language and experience of my ancestors. This deep-set need stirred within me when I first saw the brochure for UF in Florence. For the reasons I’ve given, any place in Italy instantly peaks my interest. Florence holds special appeal, though. I am a bit of an art enthusiast. I have been to the Met, Guggenheim, MoMA, and the national galleries of the US and England, along with countless other art museums, and have loved them all. To visit the birthplace of the Renaissance would be an absolute delight. Moreover, I have a weak spot for gorgeous architecture, and Florence happens to carry that in bulk.
My interest in Florence secure, I continued down the brochure. Imagine my delight when I discovered this program could help fulfill my language requirement in the language I most want to learn. Not only that, but I’d get to practice my new language in the best place imaginable: its origin country. As I looked further down the list of offered courses, Psychology of Intercultural Diversity caught my eye. Besides interesting me greatly, this course would advance me toward my eventual goal of dual majoring in Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience. Reaching the end of the brochure, I simultaneously reached the conclusion that UF in Florence was basically tailored with me in mind. My hands are shaking as I type because the simple act of applying to such a perfect program fills me with excitement.
Frankly, traveling anywhere works me up in this way. Few things excite me more than immersing myself in the essence of a new place. I love to walk amongst beautiful architecture, to sample unique aspects of varying cultures, to live among locals and learn their ways. As Italy is my dream travel destination, though, the chance to visit ignites a certain light in my soul. Being able to tie such a chance so neatly into my educational experience just fans the flame. I swear I would never undervalue this opportunity, or my name isn’t Nicoletta Lanese.