Olivia spent 4 weeks living in the center city of Rome, Italy, in an apartment in the neighborhood of Prati. She lived with five other women in her program through AIFS in a beautiful apartment where she often cooked meals for and with her roommates and other friends in the program. Olivia was surrounded by a strong presence of history in almost every aspect of her time in Italy. She studied Italian Language as well as Culture and Style in Italy, a class where she was able to visit and learn the history behind different elements of Italian life. Some of these included visits to the botanical garden, Eataly, and Sorelle Fontana. Olivia also was able to partake in hands-on courses including wine-tasting classes and a four-course cooking class. Through these she was able to learn the history and importance of food and drink in Italian life. She learned that Italian meals are meant to prioritize time with family and friends, and that the purpose of wine is to serve the taste of the meal. Everything in regards to Italian cooking and Italian meals are very particular, as well as very simple. Cooking in Italy is based on the diet of a “poor kitchen,” which means only a few ingredients per course are used. By definition, this essentially translates to making the most of what you have, a lesson for the kitchen and everyday life. It also means the cooking is often fresher and healthier than cooking in America. Olivia’s main focus was becoming familiar with Italian language in order to improve her professional writing at her home university, Carlow University. She was able to become somewhat conversationally fluent and was able to share some of what she learned once returning home. While abroad, Olivia stayed centralized in Rome but also had the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Florence, as well as Sorrento and Naples. Additionally, she spent time on the island of Capri, where she swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Olivia’s learning of Italian values, traditions, and language have helped to show her how she would like to move forward in both her personal life and her career. She hopes to carry the tradition of dedicating time to family and friends, as well as stopping to enjoy things without rushing. Her experience beginning to learn a new language has inspired her to continue to study languages in the future as well as possibly teaching English to students in other countries. Olivia will take this experience with her throughout graduate school and beyond, and hopes to have the possibility to travel abroad again, possibly as a member of the Peace Corps.
CEE Title: Olivias' Aperitivo
Our CEE included a brief introduction and explanation of directions, small group/roundtable discussions that were timed and alternated so that each group had a chance to discuss each topic, and finally a larger facilitated discussion regarding community and sustainability both abroad and in our local community. We asked that our guests initially find seats labeled either A, B, or C, and we encouraged them to sit with people they may not be familiar with. One table had discussion questions regarding community and quality time. The second two tables either had discussion questions about food waste or plastic waste. The roundtable discussions each lasted about 10-15 minutes, at which point we would direct our guests to move to a different table with a different letter, and once again encouraged them to sit with new faces. We repeated this process three times before concluding with a larger, facilitated discussion with our guests. Following our roundtable discussions, we presented a brief Powerpoint to our guests where we explained what our experiences abroad were like, while showing our guests some pictures of our individual international experiences. Following this, we opened up the floor our guests with some questions about their roundtable discussions. For the remainder of the event we discussed different perspectives or things our guests had learned over the course of the event regarding community and sustainability. We finished off the night by providing our guests with a reusable bag and a flyer with links to helpful and educational websites on food and plastic waste both in our own communities and abroad.