Today’s post comes to us from API alumni Brynn Trevizo! She spent the summer living with a host family in Italy and tutoring their daughter.
I’m writing this post three months after I returned to the United States.
I’ve been able to take a lot of time to reflect and look back on my time in Italy. From the location I got assigned to, to the host family I was placed with, I am so grateful and lucky to have had the experience I had. Even three months later I still talk to my host “sister” (what we refer to each other as now) pretty often. She is actually spending 10 months in Canada, where I hope to visit her sometime soon.
During my time in Italy I was able to grow so much as a person. I was exposed to new ways of life which put me out of my comfort zone.
I tried something new practically every day. It seems like I tried every Italian dish that exists, thanks to my amazing cook of a host dad! I was able to share with my host family some things about my own culture which they were
extremely excited about. On one of my last nights, I showed them s’mores! I have to send some more graham crackers soon because they just couldn’t get enough. They also send me special Italian cookies that I ran out of, even though I brought multiple boxes home with me.
Although I am ecstatic to have had this opportunity I definitely ran into some conflicts.
Being in a country where you don’t speak the language can get a little lonely sometimes.
Even though my family tried to translate as much as possible there were still times I had no idea what was going on in a conversation or didn’t know how to read a map or a menu. This was frustrating at times, but my advice for those to come after me would be to continue having an open mind. Always be open to learning new things and be motivated to learn the language. Knowing the basics will take you a long way and help knock down the language barrier. As cheesy as it sounds, as long as you try your best and don’t give up you’ll be happy with the results. Even if you’re embarrassed of getting words wrong or mispronouncing you’ll continue to progress if you keep trying.
After being back in my routine at Salisbury University (go Gulls), I feel nostalgic. I feel a little sad. I had an entire experience for five months that none of my friends fully understand. I’ve told them stories and shared pictures, but they’ll never grasp it entirely. Only the Bottelli family will truly understand. I find it crazy that you can pick up and leave and no matter how much time goes by you can come back and people treat you like nothing has changed. But everything had changed.
There’s been a fire lit in me that craves more of this. More travel, more experiences, more cultures, more people.
Experiences like this make you feel small, which is great. They make you realize that there is so much out there waiting for you. They make you look at others in a different light, as if everyone has a story. It makes you wonder where
others come from, where they’ve been, and where they dream to go. Experiences like this help shape you into the person that you are.
I am so thankful for API and what this program has given me.
I hope to continue having a relationship with them; whether that means I choose another teach/work/volunteer program to travel though or if that means I begin working for them. I am excited for what my future holds. But to whoever is reading this I highly recommend getting out there, leaving your comfort zone, and being spontaneous and open to any possibilities that come your way and no better program to do that with than API.