TL8″Global Responsibility: Part 2″ by Lauren Kantrovitz, in Florence Italy. 

Study abroad is often not viewed the way it should: as an incredibly opportunity to grow as a person through the explorations of oneself and the world. Unfortunately there has been enough students that have traveled abroad that have not treated the opportunity the way they should have and instead used it as a time to party, eat new food, and travel in a new culture and place and simply just remain as they were when they arrived on their “could have been” journey. Florence is an extremely easy place to do that due to the high influx of American students and the fact that most Italians in Florence speak English and will speak English to you the moment they know that (which often is just by looking at you). I find myself and most of the students around me often falling into the slumber of speaking English back as it is our safety net, what we know. I love it when you find the rare Italian in Florence that will only speak Italian to you as it pushes you to use the skills that ‘are’ there. However what I and others must urge ourselves to do more is to push ourselves to go out of our comfort zone without being forced to. A large offender of study abroad students, so much that this is often what people refer to when they think of study abroad, is that American’s go abroad to “party”. The root of the issue here is that Americans have the wrong perception of what going out and having a good times means as that often means getting so drunk you don’t remember the night prior to many. Americans have it all wrong. Europeans on the other hand drink with meals and know when to stop as getting drunk is extremely frowned upon. When countless Americans are running around doing an action that is frowned upon, of course they will be referred to as ungrateful, drunk Americans because, we do seem like that! We need to be grateful for the opportunity that is presented and keep in mind that we came, or should have come, abroad in order to ‘remember’ a life changing experience. I do believe that many of the abroad students that I have met have been very respectful towards Italians first hand however in order to receive a changed perception towards ourselves, we must start with ourselves. We are much more than what the outside world credits us for but we need to believe it ourselves first and realize that stepping out of our comfort zones and partaking in activities that we may not do in the state while forgoing others (like binge drinking) is the beauty of study abroad, individual, and global realization.

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2 thoughts on “TL8″Global Responsibility: Part 2″ by Lauren Kantrovitz, in Florence Italy. 

  1. I agree completely with your statement about Americans “doing it all wrong.” So many people in my program are focused on going out at night, drinking until they can’t remember what happened, and sleeping in until 3pm the next day. The purpose of study abroad is to see the world and learn new things, not to consume as much alcohol as possible. I really am enjoying the european style of drinking casually throughout the day and it’s a custom I wish we were more familiar with in America.

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    • I agree, I loved the european style of drinking and it has really taught me to look at alcohol in a much more responsible way, especially due to the fact that alcohol is often consumed during important moments that people want to remember. So why drink that away?!

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