Meet Sabra - SYA Italy 2018
How did you come to the decision to attend SYA?
I decided to go to SYA because I repeated my freshman year because of a concussion, and I decided to spend my extra year of high school abroad. Also, there was a student from my home school who did SYA Italy two years before me.
What did you learn in your year abroad that surprised you?
Learning the meanings of different Italian hand gestures really surprised me in a cool way because I didn't realize that each gesture had a meaning. I also learned a lot about myself throughout the experience.
Do you have a particularly special host family moment?
I absolutely love my host family! On my birthday, after a particularly tough weekend, my host family surprised me with a cake and a sign with pictures of all of us and my American family. They gave me a bracelet with a charm in the shape of a house on it and told me that their home would always be my home. Every moment with my host family was really special, but that was so meaningful and I'll never forget it.
At SYA, the curriculum lives in and outside the classroom, what memorable educational experience did you have outside the classroom?
I learned a lot from listening and having conversations with my host family and extended host family. I especially learned by talking with my host grandparents about their experiences and opinions on Italian politics and culture.
How was your education at SYA different than at your high school?
SYA's curriculum is very experiential and project-based whereas my home school has a more traditional classroom-based style. We learned a lot through getting outside of the classroom and traveling at SYA which doesn't really happen at my high school.
What advice would you give to someone who considering SYA?
I would tell people considering SYA that even though it can be a bit scary at first, going to SYA will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Also, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and make mistakes because that's truly the best way to learn and make the most of your experience.
How did your year abroad change you?
My year abroad made me much more independent and confident in myself. A big part of SYA is being able to make travel plans and get yourself from one place to another, and because of that I became really comfortable taking care of myself when traveling. I also became a lot more confident talking to new people and exploring unfamiliar places during my time at SYA. I was really forced out of my comfort zone during my time at SYA and I definitely grew a lot from the experience.
How did SYA impact your college application process?
Because of how much I learned and grew during my time at SYA, I had a lot to write about in my college essays and talk about during interviews.
What life skills do you feel like you learned while at SYA?
I learned a lot about how to interact with new people and understand cultural differences. I also learned a lot of practical skills like making travel plans and organizing trips.
To learn more about SYA Italy, check out the Italy Campus page.