Q&A Spotlight: Jamie Lee

Name: Jamie Lee
Major: Health Care Management
Destination: Italy, Spring 2014
Institution: Lorenzo de’Medici University, Tuscania

Q1: FOOD, your favorite subject & ours. Best dish? Worst dish? New recipe you picked up?

I studied abroad in a small town in Italy, so food was a HUGE part of my experience! One of my favorite dishes was a spicy pasta dish in a red sauce! Cayenne pepper is the best! As far as the worst dish… I would have to say fried calamari! That rubbery texture is a lot to take in! I I learned a lot about food, the most important being that it’s so easy to make a delicious dish! An easy recipe I learned was penne pasta tossed with olives and canned tuna! It’s so simple yet so delicious!

Q2: PLACES, talk about your favorite spot in your home away from home. Where? Why?

In the town I’m studying in (Tuscania, Italy), we have this great park! It overlooks the whole town and the typical Italian scenery they show in the movies!

Q3: TOP SECRET, did a local point you to a market, pub, or park you didn’t know about? Pass it on.

As I said, Tuscania is a very small town so there isn’t much that is kept secret! However, there is an outdoor fruit market that people don’t go to often, which I just don’t understand! They have so many fruits and veggies for SO CHEAP! My advice on food shopping would be to find that one place that people don’t often go to… It’s often the cheapest!

Q4: NOPE, are there things you don’t miss from your destination? What? Why?

I am currently home for the holidays, and I can honestly say there isn’t a thing I don’t miss! Everything about it I just love… The people, food, language! It’s my happy place!

Q5: YEP, you’re actually homesick for something from abroad. What? Why?

Being home for a month before I go abroad again, I’ve realized what I miss most is the people! Another piece of advice I can offer is to study in a small town if you can! You’ll see the same people over and over and build relationships with all of them! Whether it be the old man that owns the butcher shop down the street or the kid you see in the park every day!

Q6: SPEAKING OF, what new vocabulary have you added to your repertoire after study abroad?

Well, most of my new vocabulary is in Italian! One of the strangest things I learned is that Italians use the word “meow” to describe a cat sound, but they spell it “miao”!

Q7: SHOCKING, you could hardly believe your eyes when you saw … What? Why?

One thing that was very hard for me to get used to was male dominance. In many European countries, women are still the ones that cook, clean, and raise kids. Coming from America, that was very shocking. I was used to being told that I need to build a career and put that before any man. In Italy, it’s the opposite! Many of the women in Tuscania have never had a job in their lives.

Q8: WEEKENDS, full of travel. Where did you go? How did you choose? Was it difficult to plan?

Weekends seem to always be busy for students who are studying abroad. When you first get to your destination, you’ll want to travel right away and most likely you will every weekend. As wonderful as that is, write up a budget for yourself! It’s always more expensive than you thought it was. I went to Paris for five days one weekend, and I ended up spending about $450. I estimated I would spend no more that $200. As well, I traveled around England. I went to London and Liverpool. London was a bit overwhelming, but it is a must that everyone should see! Liverpool was wonderful! I’m a huge Beatles fan, so that was a dream come true! My first semester abroad I really wanted to get all the touristy places out of the way. This semester, I plan on going to more low-key places like Krakow, Poland and maybe Albania! Trips aren’t hard to plan, but you have to be on top of everything! Think of every possible scenerio, because chances are you’ll miss your plan, bus, or train at some point!

Q9: TOUGHEST DAY, everyone has one. What challenged you while you were abroad? Why?

I lived with a host family who (at the beginning) spoke close to no English, and I spoke NO Italian! I had many times in the beginning where each meal felt like a struggle because we couldn’t say anything to each other. Overall, staying with a host family was the best decision! I was able to learn twice as much Italian as my fellow students who lived in apartments. As well, I really got to absorb the culture! Despite the initial frustration, it was totally worth it!

Q10: PARTING WORDS. What would you say to students worried / concerned / afraid of studying abroad?

The number one thing I would say would be to face your fears and do it! This experience has – and continues – to change my life! All my best friends and boyfriend are living in Tuscania, and it will forever be apart of my life! It sounds cheesy, but you really learn so much about yourself!