Anthony Rotolo, Alumni Insider
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1. What are your best language tips?
I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and never once felt confident conversing in the language. After one semester studying Italian in Florence, Italy, I am very confident in my Italian language skills and am comfortable walking into a conversation in Italian! Learning a language in a place where that language is the primary spoken language is 10x easier than learning it in a classroom in the States. Every day after walking out of class you can practice what you learned with locals. You need to learn how to read signs and store names in Italian to get by. Your mind is not only thinking about the language while you are in class, it is thinking about it everywhere you go every day. I also practiced Italian at my internship abroad and with my family in Southern Italy who spoke no English! By the end of the semester I was so comfortable in Italian that during my travels after I met Italians and carried conversations solely in Italian! I am amazed by how well I learned Italian while abroad and now I plan to continue with more classes at my home institution!
2. What would you say if you had 60 seconds to convince a friend to study abroad?
Study abroad! Just do it! There are certain times in your life when you can do something huge that can have a lasting impact on your life, and this is one of those times. There is a saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I have heard this in a different context that I prefer more: “When you are young you have the time and desire to do things, but you don't have the money. When you enter the real world, you have the money and desire to do things but you don't have the time. When you are old you have the money and the time, but you don't have the desire to do them anymore.” Looking at the world we live in, I see this to be true in many cases. If you are fortunate enough to have the financial ability to study abroad, you need to take advantage of the opportunity. Before you know it, you will be working a full-time job and your time might be completely consumed. This experience will open your mind to the different possibilities of life in this world! This experience taught me that the saying I mentioned before, about youth being wasted on the young, is not true in all cultures. It opened my mind to the possibility of a different lifestyle. It sprouted new career ideas in my mind that I had never thought of before and helped me to abandon many skewed views I had on the world! When else in your life are you going to have the opportunity to live in another country for months at a time! Some people might have that opportunity later in life, but for most of us this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is a difference between traveling among foreign countries and living in one! Study abroad, it will change your life!