Lola is from New York, and holds a B.S. in Health Science. She did a Physical Therapy internship in Florence, Italy, through World Endeavors.
Why did you choose to go abroad through World Endeavors?
I traveled to Italy a few years ago and had been looking for ways to go back. Most study abroad programs require some knowledge of the language and I didn’t speak any yet. World Endeavors had opportunities that in my opinion are hard to find. Interning in a field that I’m interested in working in, in a country I love? Perfect find.
What was a typical day for you at your internship?
Observing physical therapists, interacting with patients and helping with exercises.
What was your favorite part of your work?
Interacting with the patients and therapists.
What did you do in your free time?
There are tons of things to do in Florence! I especially loved doing aperitivo (Italy’s version of happy hour), hanging out with friends at a piazza, occasionally going dancing, to museums, exhibits, etc. I got to travel to other parts of Italy, France and Norway.
What was a typical meal?
It’s mainly three courses. First course is pasta, the second is meat, and the third is dessert (normally a piece of fruit). It’s definitely hard to pick one favorite food, but I loved crostini and pizza. If you go, you must go to Pizzaman — the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had in my life. I recommend Caprese con bufala.
What did you find difficult to get used to?
Honestly, nothing. You just learn to adapt. You just have to go there and fully embrace the culture. Focus on that and I guarantee you’ll have the most amazing time of your life.
What are you doing now?
Right now I’m searching for jobs in a physical therapy office while I begin the application process for Physical Therapy programs. I hope after I graduate, I can return to Florence to look for a job. I call it my “Five year plan.”
What advice would you give to someone going to Italy?
It’s easy to cling on to things that are familiar to you. Take in as much as you possibly can. SPEAK the language everyday. Before I left, my friends would tell me, I’m sure you’ll be okay, there are tons of Americans there. Granted, that was true, but I really wanted to interact with the locals as well as other Europeans. This is your chance to really step outside yourself and learn something new. Have discussions about your differences. Experiences like this will change your outlook on life (and yourself) forever.