Student Ellyn Hopper from University of South Carolina, Columbia wrote an article for the Tuscia Times in an online feature while participating in USAC’s study abroad location in Viterbo, Italy.
In her last article Ellyn describes the value of a semester from the day-to-day exposure of the architecture, language, food, and culture. “I’ll turn a corner and see a beautiful old building or happen to look upwards at the fantastically rich blue sky that is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I realize. I remember. I’m in Italy. Italy! And then all of the sudden this feeling wells up deep inside me, a gratefulness that I can’t describe, and I sound like a crazy person when I try to put it to words.”
What’s more is Ellyn finds that although having tourist experiences like, “seeing the Colosseum for the first time and riding a gondola and standing next to Rocca Maggiore, looking out at the grandeur of the land and town of Assisi,” are crucial to her time in Italy, it was the local life that made Ellyn fall in love. “I have been privileged to frequent the same cafe and know the baristas, to try local cuisine like La Spaghetteria, Il Monastero, and La Cartoccio, and to live in a non-tourist town. I have been forced to speak broken Italian, and I owe deep gratitude to all those who managed to decipher my speech.”
Ellyn describes her full embrace of Italian food, “I can’t wait to bring home the elements I’ve learned: fresh ingredients, simple combinations, quality flavor, joyful service, and of course, my favorite tradition of all, aperitivo.” Her boyfriend had a similar experience when he stayed and traveled with Ellyn in Viterbo for a short stay, on his return home he exclaimed, “What’s even the point of eating anymore?”
In her reflection about her program abroad, Ellyn says, “It’s everything I dreamed of, played out on a more sober level, and everything I didn’t expect. The time here has far exceeded any idea I could have procured on my own. And I love it. I love the people, I love the culture, I love food. I love it all. Italy has taken my heart and I am certain will never let it go.”
Read Ellyn’s full piece in Tusica Times.
To see if our Viterbo program will steal your heart too, see our website to apply.
As an Italian expatriate, I always recommend that friends visit small obscure villages as well as the well known sites.
As so often, the best way to learn the Italian culture is to immerse yourself in the way of life. This not only forces you to learn the italian language to communicate but also allows you to be involved in day to day life.