Viva Italia!

VeniceI get a lot of questions from students asking what study abroad opportunities PUC offers. It’s exciting to me that students are interested in traveling and learning about different cultures. Many students aren’t aware there are Adventist colleges and universities all over the world. As a PUC student, you have an opportunity to study at any of them for a summer or even a full year, in such places as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, England, Argentina, and even Israel, through Adventist Colleges Abroad, more often referred to as ACA.

You might be wondering, why would anyone want to “go ACA”? There are many reasons! It’s important for students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities PUC offers because students can:

  • Gain real life experiences a classroom could never provide
  • Develop an expanded worldview and multicultural perspective
  • Strengthen proficiency in a foreign language
  • Experience personal growth
  • Travel
  • Make new friends
  • Increase career marketability, and more!

I didn’t have the courage to be away from my friends and family for an entire school year, so I chose instead to spend a summer at Istituto Avventista Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy. I had never been to Europe before and was pretty intimidated, but thankfully I was going with my brother and several good friends from PUC. When we arrived, the staff and faculty at Villa Aurora couldn’t have been more helpful getting us settled in and making sure we knew the right bus route to take to town as well as recommending the best pizza place nearby. Despite their help, on our first night out in Florence a group of us got horribly lost for several hours, which is something we can laugh about now but wasn’t very funny at the time! Over the next few weeks however, we got very comfortable figuring out how to get to our favorite gelato shop, where to find the best deal for an Italian leather purse, and even talking with locals in basic Italian. “Un piccolo di menta gelato, per favore,” became a phrase I memorized. (“One cup of mint gelato, please.”)

Part of the reason I chose to spend a summer abroad was to fulfill the language requirement for PUC’s general education requirements. By spending a summer in Italy, I was able to get one year’s worth of language credits, as well as some history and elective credits since I took beginning Italian language classes in addition to classes in Italian art history, Italian cooking, and Italian popular culture. My mornings were filled with classes, and the afternoons were spent with friends exploring Florence, eating real Italian gelato and pizza while sitting on the steps of the Duomo, Florence’s famous cathedral. Our evenings were devoted to homework and downloading new episodes of the Office off iTunes. It was a ridiculous amount of fun.

Besides classes, the school also took us on several field trips. We visited the Cinque Terre, Venice, and Rome, seeing sights like Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican, and so much more. One of my favorite memories is a trip my friends and I took during a free weekend to see the ruins of Pompeii, and we inadvertently booked ourselves at a four-star hotel. After weeks of living in a dorm room without air conditioning, it was heaven!

I realize how cheesy it sounds, but spending a summer in Italy not only gave me a greater appreciation of the world – but I also gained an appreciation of home. After weeks of being able to only communicate with people in a combination of basic Italian and hand gestures, it was wonderful to come home to the good ol’ USA and speak English. And eat something besides pizza. Believe it or not, it is possible to get sick of pizza. I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of going abroad to go! Go while you can receive college credit and maybe even use loans to pay for it. Go before you graduate from college, get married, have kids, and have a job. You won’t regret it.

Visit http://www.aca-noborders.com for more information about Adventist study abroad opportunities or talk with an Enrollment Counselor to find out how studying abroad can help you reach your career goals. Call 800.862.7080 option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu.