Washington and Lee University
Business Administration Major
Fall 15 Ambassador
When I considered studying abroad, I had two places in mind: Italy and Australia. I ultimately chose Italy because my mom told me I couldn’t go to Australia. I also studied Italian in high school and some in college, so Italy wasn’t a bad option. On top of that, I have second cousins who live in Italy, and the previous two times I visited them, I loved the country. To be honest, I was pretty casual about the whole study abroad thing. I was very lackadaisical in choosing a program, and I really wasn’t even that excited days before I left. I didn’t want to miss out on a semester at school with all my friends! Well, now that the semester has ended, and I am back in the United States, I can say that I feel bad for all my friends who didn’t study abroad because they were the ones “missing out.”
When it came to selecting a program, like I said, I didn’t spend much time considering my options. Part of this was due to my laziness, but mostly once I heard about the Umbra Institute, I didn’t need to be sold on any other programs. For me, I didn’t want to be studying in a touristy place where I would speak very little Italian. I wanted to improve my skills, and get the chance to truly be immersed in a real Italian culture. In a spot like Florence or Rome, I knew I wouldn’t get that, so upon hearing about Perugia as an option, I quickly sent in an application.
The Umbra Institute has a great selection of classes, and I was able to take two courses that counted as credits toward my major, including Marketing and Organizational Behavior. My OB class was taught by a professor who studied at Wake Forest, and he worked us very hard. He was the one American native professor I had, and he knew how to get the most out of each class period. While the course was challenging at times, I appreciate what I learned from this professor, and will remember our encounters for a lifetime. I also took Italian language and culture, and the Business of Wine. Business of Wine was a fascinating course that offered us the opportunity to work with a local winery and apply the concepts we learned in class to real world scenarios. This type of service-learning project is very common of courses at Umbra. Three out of four of my classes were involved with a local business. Italian was a tough course for me, but the amount of time Umbra spends helping students learn the language really helped my development.
I wrote a whole book on my experience at the Umbra Institute and my time traveling throughout Europe, so Kade’s story time could easily go on forever, but I won’t do that to you all. Let’s just say I had a ton of fun at Karoke nights with international students, Italian students, and Umbra students. O! The 360 views/ Chocolate Festival are unrivaled.
Finally, no matter where you decide to study, travel every weekend. Even if you decide to travel around Perugia for a weekend, don’t sit inside, get out and explore!