By Karol Ibarra
A senior at Saint Mary’s University, Nicole Krystosek, studied with the SAI (Study Abroad Italy) program in Florence, Italy in the spring semester of 2010.
The city and Florence University of Arts seemed like a perfect fit for her, which is what drew Krystosek into the program. The SAI program offered “housing, a cell phone, a meal plan and excursions,” said Krystosek.
“Since I am an art major I took all art classes, with the exception of Italian, and loved all of them,” said Krystosek.
Picking up the language was a little difficult at first, but Krystosek said it shouldn’t stop people from studying abroad.
“The language was something I struggled with. But with the help of my Italian Language Class, I was able to manage. My amazing new friends helped me out with the language.”
While living abroad for the semester, Krystosek said she was living in an apartment next to the Santa Croche, located in the heart of Florence. “My bedroom overlooked the steeple of the church, which was nothing short of amazing,” Krystosek said. “I lived with three girls that I had never met before, who were from different parts of the [U.S.].”
According to Krystosek she enjoyed “every moment of [her] experience abroad,” but she did have some “ups and downs.”
“I struggled with homesickness, roommate issues and negative personalities of others in general, but the downs made the ups more beautiful and prominent,” said Krystosek.
Krystosek has advice for future students considering sharing this experience: “Arrive with an open mind. Take on the new culture as your own. Be adventurous; the random adventures are what make your experience unique.”