My name is Ashlynn Foist and I spent my Fall semester in Torino, Italy and my Spring Semestser in Viterbo, Italy during my junior year of college. I not only fell in love with Italy but also with an Italian and I decided to move to Italy after I finished by Bachelor’s degree. I’ve officially been living in Torino for a year, and here’s how I made my dreams of living abroad a reality.
Torino vs Viterbo
Both USAC Italy programs offered me completely different but equally amazing experiences. Torino is a beautiful Italian city with so much history, filled with museums, antique markets, and giant parks. I got to live in a cute apartment and I was only a five-minute walk from the university campus.
Viterbo was a breathtaking medieval city where my friends and I discovered all of the treasures it has to offer, from our favorite little coffee shop, the best pizzeria, and bar to the best view that the city has to offer. I got to live with a host family (Shoutout to Fabiana and Matteo, I miss you two) and one of the greatest friends I have ever had where we ate such authentic and yummy food (their good friend was a local chef so that was definitely a perk) and I got to improve on my Italian.
Both cities have found such a special place in my heart and if you’re in difficulty in deciding which of these Italy program locations to choose then I have to suggest BOTH.
Returning to Italy
At the University in Torino there was a language exchange program with the local Italian students, my friend Bekah and I decided to join and we were matched with two students. Bekah got stuck with a super handsome Italian (Davide) that caught my eye right away and next thing you know we were falling in love. He came to visit me during the Spring while I was in Viterbo and that’s when our relationship began. I went back to Texas after the program ended and finished my last year of school while I learned the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship and an Italy withdrawal.
I soon made the decision that I wanted to go back to Italy, not only to visit but to build my life there. I enrolled in the University Degli Studi di Torino, completed the visa process, and then packed my life into two suitcases. It was a difficult process but it was definitely worth it once Davide picked me up from the airport and I went to gaze at la Mole Antonelliana (my second love), which I hope is something I’ll get to do for the rest of my life.
Study Abroad Opens Doors
While finding love abroad is amazing, it also opened professional doors for me.
While I was in Torino I had an internship at a local elementary school that helped me get my feet into the door for teaching English to children. This experience was so crucial for me when I moved here and I started to look for English teaching jobs, and thanks to the little certificate they gave me on completion of the internship I have found so many opportunities.
Thanks to study abroad, I was able to graduate with a Global Citizen Credential and become fluent in Italian which is my proudest accomplishment on my resume. My career goals have become international career goals and I have a strong advantage in the market with English being my native language. I got to travel to so many countries and experience so many cultures that have been priceless in helping me grow personally and professionally. Studying abroad has taught me that dreams can true and that you should always set your goals high.
My Never-Ending Love Story
My life would be completely different if I hadn’t studied abroad. I have grown so much personally from this experience and I have recommended it to so many of my friends. It not only afforded me such an important academic recognition but it opened my eye to so many professional career opportunities and like I said before, has made me a highly qualified candidate.
USAC has given me the most valuable opportunity of my life, I have made so many incredible memories and some lifetime friends from studying abroad. I am so glad that I decided to study abroad and that it has brought me to where I am today.
Ashlynn Foist has a double major in Anthropology and Italian Studies from the University of Houston. She’s an alumna of both the Torino and the Viterbo Italian programs. She is currently pursuing her masters degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Torino in Italy. You can reach out to her and follow her journey on Instagram @ildiariodiash.