Meet Angelina - Italy 2018
How did you come to the decision to attend SYA?
I always wanted to go abroad, specifically to Italy, but I just was waiting for college. Then, one of my friends who attends a boarding school, sent me the information. I was immediately set on the idea of spending my junior year abroad. The week after finding out about it was spent convincing my parents and telling my teachers. The rest is history.
What did you learn in your year abroad that surprised you?
I was shocked at how easy it was to make friends with my peers and also with the locals. I was so much more outgoing in the SYA environment than I had ever been anywhere else.
Do you have a particularly special host family moment?
I have so many special host family moments. The year that I spent with them was wonderful, I was so close to both of my host siblings and my host sister and I hung out all the time. I was very grateful that I got to celebrate both my host brother's first communion and my host sister's confirmation with them. It meant so much to be a part of such a big moment in their lives. I also enjoyed going to the theater with them to watch dance performances and just hanging out with my host sister and her friends, who I also became close with. Every moment with them was special, from the dinners together every night to the Christmas parties that they hosted.
At SYA, the curriculum lives in and outside the classroom, what memorable educational experience did you have outside the classroom?
I really enjoyed the Global Citizenship course because we were able to interact with locals throughout the course. During my year, the Italian elections were going on. Of course, we discussed it a lot in class and then were assigned to go out and survey locals on what they thought of the election. It was pretty interesting to hear what people had to say, and it was definitely out of my comfort zone. I also really loved the Agroecology class, and I loved making wine and cheese with my classmates and some local experts.
How was your education at SYA different than at your high school?
The classes were all interesting to me. I went to SYA for a reason — I am super interested in Italian culture. Every one of my classes was so cool and I did not hate going to school. I looked forward to it. I enjoyed learning about food and plants in science, watching Italian movies and exploring cities in Italian Language and Culture, learning about current events in Global Citizenship, and just learning the language that I have always wanted to learn. I also really loved all of my teachers.
What advice would you give to someone who considering SYA?
Do it! It is the best decision I have ever made. It completely changed my life. Do your research and make sure it is really what you want to do. Although, who wouldn't want to? And when you get to Italy, be where you are and enjoy every single minute because it goes by so quickly.
How did your year abroad change you?
It changed so much about me. I became more social, open-minded and confident. Being in a happier environment made me so much more secure with myself, especially since SYA is such a close community. I realized what true happiness felt like for what felt like the first time. It also pushed me out of so many of my comfort zones that I didn't even know I had, I am so much more outgoing now.
How did SYA impact your college application process?
It definitely made me stand out among my peers. I give credit to SYA for getting me into some of the better schools that I got into. It also made writing my college essay so much easier because I had so many more experiences and self-revelations to talk about.
What life skills do you feel like you learned while at SYA?
I learned how to be more independent. I used to always rely on other people, like my parents. I learned how to take care of myself and motivate myself to do my work even with all of the distractions outside. I had to teach myself how to manage my time. I also learned so many things about traveling — how to get around the city, asking for help, and just learning from mistakes. I had to navigate myself around cities that I didn't know too well most of the time. It was all trial and error until I figured it all out.
To learn more about SYA Italy, check out the Italy Campus page.