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Ella Speer

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Major: MEJO - Minor: Studio Arts
Program: Lorenzo De' Medici
Location: Florence, Italy
Term: Spring 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I really needed to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. It was important to me that I tried something new and worked through the anxiety I had about studying abroad. I selected my program because I knew I wanted to be in Italy, and the Lorenzo de' Medici Institute is a huge well known study abroad hub, so I knew that I would be taken care of and supported if I went on that program.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned so much about myself. I learned that I can live with anxiety and still have incredible experiences while being nervous at the same time. I learned my organizational skills make trip scheduling come easily to me, I was so proud of how I planned all of my trips! I learned that I am much more capable than I previously thought in many ways.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
There are so many!! I LOVED the Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri trip I took through LdM. It was so nice to have everything planned out for me and organized. Having a home to return to after my weekend trips was SO nice, I loved that Florence was my home - I knew the area and it felt comfortable and familiar to me. It was so fun to feel at home in a whole other country, while having the opportunity to explore other places too!!


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
You can be uncertain and nervous and still do it! You can have anxiety and be anxious, but you can also grow and push yourself at the same time. Everyone is nervous, everyone is figuring out their (short-term) new way of life. You will find people who want to talk about the uncertainties and nerves and you can work together to find ways to be comfortable while studying abroad. It helped me to have goals for myself, for example: I had to first "get through" my first month in Italy, just until my parents visited. Then, I had spring break! Then, a few more weeks would pass until my boyfriend came to see me... it was so helpful to break my time abroad into chunks so it wasn't so daunting.