Last semester I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I loved learning the language and the ability to pursue my love of Renaissance art. However, my most rewarding experience came very unexpectedly.
While at RWU, I typically keep a very busy schedule complete with a full course load, internship and part-time job. In Italy, my only commitment was showing up to classes four days a week. I had an incredible amount of free time and surprisingly, I didn’t really like it. When the secretary mentioned that a local elementary school was looking for a tutor, I figured I would give a few hours of time to help a student learn English.
Apparently, tutor meant teaching English to an entire class of 15 or more students. At first, I was overwhelmed and a little wary of my elementary Italian skills. However, the enthusiasm of the children was infectious and I began enjoying my time spent at the school every week.
While I was teaching a lesson on asking for directions, it hit me that they were teaching me too. As they said the phrases in Italian and then in English, I realized the Italian words no longer sounded foreign to me. Without realizing it, we had switched roles. I was meant to teach them about the United States and English, but they ended up not only teaching me about their culture but also accepting me into it.
I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to have worked with the class. I hope that they learned as much from me as I did from them!
Want to learn more about my study abroad experience? Read my blog to hear all about my adventures.