Even though I am well readjusted back into my life in Texas, I think about my experience abroad almost every day. It was the greatest 4 month adventure of my life to date. Sometimes I wake up and life is so normal and exponentially different in Texas that I wonder if it was all a big dream. It is hard to believe that I visited 34 cities, lived on an island and took 12 hours in a foreign country. It seems like a different life.

I did not expect to go back to the United States with such a deep appreciation for our country. I was shocked to learn just how much impact the United States has on the decisions that Italy and countries all around the world make everyday. We have always been told in school that the Unites States is a superpower. But because of the debt and political/economic turmoil that the United States faces today, I just assumed that other countries didn’t look up to us as much anymore. Going to the Univeristy of Ca’ Foscari in Venice changed my mind. Our Italian university must have referenced the United States 5X during every 1.5 hour class. They base their business moves and education system off of the US. More than that, we met dozens of people in Italy and other countries that really want to come to the America. They would describe their personal American dream and it was eye-opening. We may have lots of problems of our own, but being in Europe made me so grateful to live in the country I do.

Italy has a high context culture. Meaning that there are many unspoken rules and implicit messages in what is said and done. Communication is not direct and much is left up for interpretation. This made it harder for us to adapt to the country because we were often lost in the translation of instructions and meaning. For example, 3/4 of our classes did not contain a formatted rubric. Sometimes our professors would just verbally tell us about a paper and say “due next week”. When next week? Times new roman? Double spaced? What am I being graded on? Whereas in the United States (A low context culture) we always know exactly what is expected of us, down to the last detail. This is the same with ordering in restaurants, buying tickets to something, bargaining, and doing business. There are definitely pro and cons to each type of culture, but it was a great learning experience to be thrown into a vastly different environment.

Attached are a few moments from our last day in Venice and at Ca’ Foscari University. I will greatly miss it.