Studying abroad in Italy can be disorienting ….whichever city a student chooses as the final destination for their semester. There are obvious cultural differences: the language, the food, the people, not to mention having to adjust to walking on cobblestone streets for the next four months, versus driving comfortably door-to-door in a climate-controlled car. Even something as mindless and natural as trying to flush the toilet might cause confusion.
This is why Umbra hosts a three-day orientation session for new students upon their arrival. Orientation includes a three-course Italian welcome dinner, small-group orientation meetings, a safety meeting with Officer Caneschi who speaks frankly of the dos, don’ts and the dangers of “Disneyland Syndrome.” After an extensive orientation, students are then immersed in one-week of a survival Italian course where they learn how to navigate the nuances of their new environment. The first few weeks are challenging–especially when it comes to communication–but also exactly what students come here for.