Gina is from Bloomington, Minnesota and went to Florence, Italy to complete an internship in Engineering.

How do you feel looking back on your experience in Italy?

I absolutely loved my experience in Italy. It was a semester filled with crazy adventures and new friendships.

Did you have any reservations before leaving for Italy?

I was pretty nervous, but mostly just for the adjustment to Italian lifestyles and adjusting to time difference, but was really excited at the same time!

What was your first impression of Italy?

Italy was beautiful and the people there are so laid back, it helped me to relax my tight grip on having a set schedule down.

How did your first impressions/nervousness (if any) change from when you arrived to when you left?

I was pretty nervous about making good friendships, but found there was no shortage of friends to meet. I got plugged in with a church there too, which helped me meet even more people.

Tell me about your internship.

I interned at a structural design company. I was either doing design work on the computers with the other engineers, or touring Tuscany with my boss to meet with clients and check up on projects.

Tell me about a typical day for you from the time you got up until the time you went to sleep.

On a work day I would get up and take the train to my internship. I would spend the day helping out around there and maybe touring some sites (usually the day had about 2 or 3 coffee breaks to visit a little cafe around the corner). Then I would head home in the afternoon on the train. At night, I would go out for dinner with friends, explore the museums in Florence, or watch the sun set from a beautiful park.

How did you get around? (i.e. going to your internship, traveling, going to a store…etc.)

I mostly walked around in Florence for restaurants or markets. To get to my internship I took the train every day.

How did your time in Italy impact you? What do you carry with you now because of this experience?

I feel more confident in my abilities as a world traveler. I feel that I could do that type of adventure on my own and really make the most of it. I also have gained so many international friends which has been so cool to stay connected with them!

What are you doing now? Do you have future travels plans?

Still in my undergraduate degree, definitely want to visit another continent in the near future! Maybe Asia is next?

What advice would you give someone traveling abroad?

Do something that YOU want to do every day, and also keep a journal and write what you did every day so you can look back on it.

How did you hear about World Endeavors, and why did you choose WE over other programs?

WE was at my Study Abroad fair, and they allowed engineering interns to apply (unlike a lot of other places).

Number one story you love to tell about your time abroad:

One day, my boss took me to an island just off of the coast of Italy. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed exploring a tropical island (while at work, too)!

Number one challenge about being abroad:

I felt homesick for the beginning of it, and I really didn’t know Italian very well, but I caught on.

Anything you learned about yourself, US culture, etc.?

I learned how much I enjoy adventure, and don’t mind just being spontaneous. I also learned that US culture glorifies busy schedules and Italy culture really emphasizes enjoying each and every day.