Penn State University
Spring 16 Ambassador
Hello! My name is Laura and I’m a junior double majoring in Statistics and Communications at Penn State University. Here at the Umbra Institute I am taking Photography, Fresco Painting, Education in Italy, and Intermediate Italian. I involve myself in the community here in Perugia by working as a teaching assistant in a local high school’s English classes twice per week. I’ve learned a great deal about not only Italian education but also culture through this experience.
What I loved most about studying abroad is the times when obligations and rules are forgotten for the sake of doing something more human. It’s a beautiful day? We’ll have class on the steps. Everyone is having a tough week? Our professor will end class early and bring us to a new café that none of us have tried. It’s times like these, when experiences take priority over what we’re “supposed” to do, that are so different from the way things operate in the U.S. and that are therefore such valuable parts of my time here.
I have two pieces of advice for future Umbra students: (1) Take History of Food and Culture. I kick myself everyday for not enrolling in that class, because the students who do take it are learning SO MUCH relevant and useful information about Italy. (2) Take more weekend trips within Italy than you do outside of Italy – there are so many places to see in Italy and they’re all so different, and you’ll understand and appreciate the country as a whole so much more as a result!