“I chose to study abroad because I wanted to experience something bigger than myself, and living in a different country, thousands of miles away from home, is a unique adventure,” said Lisa Egede, a sophomore computer science major who is also minoring in international studies.
Lisa studied at OU in Arezzo (OUA) for the fall 2017 semester, and says she wanted to add this to her college experience because “I have gone to school in Oklahoma pretty much all of my life and was craving a change of pace. I also knew that these college years may be some of the only times I would get the chance to study abroad.”
During her time in Italy, Lisa realized that the world is a much bigger place than she ever imagined. Through this opportunity she met some amazing new people that she otherwise would not have. “I’m lucky to have had the chance to spend a semester abroad with a group of people who started out as strangers but are now some of my best friends,” she said. Also, she took in some beautiful sights that some only get the chance to see in books. Italian architecture, the Mediterranean Sea and the Island of Capri are just a few to name! With a new camera at her side, she said “it was awesome getting to use it because my favorite part were all the views.
Another major thing that stood out to Lisa is the fact that she studied in a real Tuscan city. To her it had a sense of community, was more quiet and slower paced than some other destinations like Rome or Florence. “It felt much more like home,” she explained. “The local restaurants and shops are family owned for the most part, so over time, these people begin to feel like family. Many locals will greet you with smiles despite the language barrier, which is very comforting.”
Although it felt like home, it was different than life in Norman. Like anything new, it took a little time to get adjusted. “I cried, laughed, had great days and hard days, but each day and experience shaped me more than the day before,” Lisa said. She also pointed out that “when you’re traveling and going about daily life in a different country, facing obstacles is bound to happen. I like to plan ahead and have a set schedule, but in life it is important to be able to bounce back if things don’t go according to plan.”
Lisa will always cherish the memories she made. Now a seasoned study abroad pro, she has learned a few key things to share with others venturing on their personal journey to Arezzo (or really anywhere). “If you can, try and take any classes you may need ahead of time to stay on track,” she said. “I messed up in that aspect by thinking I could take almost 18 hours at OUA, but don’t do it. For most people, studying abroad only comes once and you don’t want to be stuck in the library during Arezzo’s annual Joust!” She also advised that it’s important to call your family and friends when you first arrive and budget for additional side trips. In addition, she suggested bringing a rain coat as well as comfy house shoes BUT not to over pack. Lastly, and most importantly, Lisa suggested enjoying this life event at your own pace. “Everybody will do things differently, so try not to compare yourself to others. Walk to a park overlooking the city, have a nice dinner with friends or by yourself and enjoy every minute because it goes by fast.”
Interested in OU’s study abroad programs? Learn more here… and See the World. Stay a Sooner!