Marie Frazer '19 is graduating with a joint major in Italian and History. Here she shares her experience studying abroad and completing all her coursework in Italian.
I studied abroad in Padua, Italy in the Fall semester of 2018 through Boston University’s program in Padua. It was an amazing experience for me and one of my best semesters in college! Studying in Padua was challenging both academically and culturally. I took all of my courses in Italian, one of which was at Universita degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD), the University of Padua; while the others were offered by Boston University’s Padua campus. The Boston University program provided great courses; one of mine was Italian music history, which I really enjoyed. I found the staff at BU to be very supportive and welcoming as well. The course at UNIPD was challenging for me, because I was in a class geared towards Italian college students, so the Italian spoken in the class was at a very high level. It was a truly immersive experience, and it pushed me to become more confident in speaking Italian and to work very hard to earn a high grade. I think all of the courses I took were academically rigorous and interesting, but they were manageable to take while I was abroad, and I was still able to travel.
I had a wonderful experience, staying with my Italian host family. At times, it was a bit of a cultural or linguistic shock, but I grew a lot personally from the experience. My family spoke very little English with me, but I was still able to communicate with them effectively, and it became natural after a couple weeks if not sooner. By the time I went to Padua, I had been studying Italian at F&M for almost 3 years, so I was well-prepared - and frankly more prepared than I expected - to immerse myself in a homestay, where I spoke Italian all the time. I would highly recommend to any foreign language student thinking of going abroad, that they should stay with an Italian family, because it was a very important part of my cultural experience. I traveled a lot around northern Italy and to Croatia over one break. The BU program took us on a few day trips too. Padua is in a great location for travel to Venice, Milan, and central Europe, and traveling on the train or a bus was simple and not too expensive. Padua is also a beautiful city, with a lot to see itself. I loved studying in Padua, at BU, and I would highly suggest this program to anyone considering studying abroad in Italy!