It is October 20th and I am currently writing this blog post as I am studying for midterms because yes they do exist in Florence, and it is crazy to believe that the semester is already halfway done. As I started to reflect on my experience thus far, I could only think of why Elementary/Special Education majors SHOULD go abroad, and struggled to think of any reasons why a student would not benefit from this program.
Adjusting is easier than it seems. Florence is a beautiful city with millions of things to see, allowing for tons of distractions from any of those homesick feelings. And… who would turn down 3 ½ months of pizza, pasta, and bread?
On a serious note, this program has so much to offer. The education program has allowed for students to immerse themselves into a completely new culture in a way that I am sure many education students from other programs do not have the chance to experience. Teaching in an Italian elementary school provides insight into a new culture, far different from our own, allowing for the importance of cultural awareness and acceptance to be experienced first hand. It also allows working with English Language Learners to become a reality, rather than simply learning about this in a textbook and hoping we would get the chance to practice someday. If you asked me a year ago where I would be right now, I would never think that I would have taught a lesson today on the Interrogative, Affirmative, and Negative forms of the verb “to be”. But trust me, it is not as hard as it seems. The program provides for ample opportunities to have class discussions and for students to help each other along the way. In doing so, all of the education majors studying abroad this semester have grown closer and assisted each other in becoming better teachers.