I have successfully finished my first week of classes here in Firenze at Lorenzo de’ Medici. What an awesome experience it has already been to receive a great education in another country. These classes have already elevated my study abroad experience. I am taking five courses including my italian course at LDM. I simply can’t pick just one specific course as my favorite because they all carry their own unique elements that excite me.
I will touch on the fact that I am overly thrilled to be taking a broadcasting class at LDM this semester not only because it is exactly what I hope to do as my career choice, but it is giving me an insightful perspective on the way news and mass media is portrayed here in Italy. It will be interesting to compare the differences between the way we relay information to people in the states and how it differentiates with the way people consume information in Italy and throughout Europe. For my broadcasting class I have a fun spirited and enthusiastic professor who forms the class around current events and a discussion base where we can all contribute our opinions. Sharing opinions and ideas with my peers from all over the world on current events is going to be an awesome learning experience that I will be able to carry with me forever.
This week I have been thinking about the importance of travel, why people do it, and what you can achieve from it. I understand that some might not always get the opportunity to travel, but if you can make it happen, you must. Even if you can’t make it out of the country, traveling throughout states in the America to observe the differences between cultures and geographical areas is beyond important to do. I am beginning to understand that the best possible way to learn is to travel. When you are traveling you experience another way of life and although it might be different from your way of life, you can appreciate it to the fullest extent. I have been pondering the thought of how we communicate with others from our particular culture as opposed to how we communicate with others who are from a different cultural background.
First, I think it is important to understand that our cultures are fluid, nothing is static or fixed. Cultures across the globe are constantly changing. We cannot simply label someone to a certain culture because there are so many variations in each culture. We as a society tend to categorize cultures other than our own and form preconceived thoughts rather than to communicate and understand the individual. I think that this small act that we might not always know we are doing can be very dangerous. Culture does not have a genetic imprint, it is learned through interactions from the time we are a child. A quote by Octavio Paz stuck out to me for this weeks thoughts, “Life is plurality, by suppressing differences and peculiarities, progress weakens life and favors death.” I can honestly say that I have not been as open minded as I could be about the world and differences among cultures. It was important for me to understand that it is vital to have more than one perspective on the world and the human race. So far, this trip has opened my eyes to recognize the differences among cultures and not to overgeneralize when I see something or experience something I am not used to.
Other than my thoughts for this week, I wanted to share a tad about what I have been up to daily. I have been busy with classes and making sure that I understand the amount of work for each course in order to best manage my time. This past Saturday I took a long walk into the outskirts of Florence to see the beauty of the rural areas. I passed the Boboli Gardens and am hoping to get tickets to walk through the Gardens this week. It is still such an amazing feeling to walk outside of our apartment and see the Duomo directly in front of me! It is one thing to admire pictures, but to see something so famous in person is truly thrilling. This coming weekend I will be going to Tuscany for a hike through the red wine vineyards as well as wine tasting following our hike. I never thought I would be able to say I would be getting the opportunity to do these things, but I will forever be grateful! I can’t wait to have much more interesting experiences to share with you all next week!