I did not enter Italy with any preconceived ideas. I left with an immense amount of appreciation for their lifestyle and demeanor. Italians put family and friends as a top priority. I cannot speak for all of Italy—but Tuscania is the epitome of love and simplicity. They truly understand the real meaning of life. As in, genuinely appreciating the company of others. Dinners are not spent on the couch watching television; they are spent around the table every single night. When you go to pick up children from a friend’s home, you do not hurry to leave—you sit on the ‘terrazza’ and talk. As you walk down the cobblestone streets, you notice that you are surrounded by groups of grandparents chuckling as they drink coffee at local cafes, while there’s the ambient sounds of children playing in the park. I was in a culture shock (in a good way!) when I first arrived; I never knew this type of simplicity still existed.
My experience in Italy did not just change me as an artist, but it changed me as a person. Now, in my daily life I find a greater amount of appreciation for: community, talking to strangers, listening to others speak, spending less time on technology and purely ‘loving’ others company. One of my biggest regrets in life is not studying abroad here longer. If I could be an advocate for anything in life it would be for LdM Tuscania.
Hannah Browning – LdM Study Abroad Student in Tuscania, Summer 2015