1) Set goals and make waves.
If you don’t do so during pre-departure, set goals for yourself during the first week or two in Perugia. Umbra recommends that you establish at least one goal related to your career readiness and one related to your personal development, or how you relate to yourself and those around you.
Then, don’t just float, make waves! Seek experiences that might disrupt your “normal” – travel to a country you never thought you’d visit, go hiking, sit in the front of the classroom, try new foods and habits. Find ways to meet and exceed your goals and expectations and don’t hesitate to reach out to Student Services Staff if you need safe and rewarding ideas!
2) Engage with Umbra staff and professors.
Umbra is a relatively small institution, so it is easy to interact daily with Umbra’s staff and professors.
Interested in Opera, local traditions or the Italian feminist movement? Talk to Dr. Valoroso.
Have you ever wondered how sunscreen impacts the environment? Speak with Dr. Porter.
Want to know the origin of the word ciao? Check with Francesco, or Marta.
Want to know some of the best hikes near Assisi? Chat with Laura in Student Services.
Considering a career in the food industry? Speak with Dr. Ascione
The list can go on and on but what you need to know is that: everyone on our team wants to see you reach your goals and come to love Perugia as much as we do!
3) Plan travel around studying, not the reverse.
Study abroad is not a vacation; it is an academic and personal growth experience. While we want you to travel to flex your independence and problem-solving skills, explore history and experience culture; it is important for you to still attend and engage with your classes. Each class is taught within the context of Italy and learning from it will enhance your experience exploring the rest of the country.
4) Don’t fear culture shock or homesickness.
At one point or another, all of us miss home and the familiar comforts of our own culture. While this can make us feel distracted, sad, or even sick, it is a completely normal and in many ways a necessary part of the growth experience. These feelings can last an afternoon, or they can last a week or more at a time; everyone goes through it differently. Umbra hosts an on-site study abroad coach and counselor specifically for this reason. Our advice is to chat with her anytime you feel that way, so those feelings can work to your advantage during your time abroad.
View other blogs in this series:
Setting yourself up for a Successful Study Abroad Experience
Returning Home: Demonstrating your Successes