Posted: July 2, 2019

Four cities, ten days, twenty friends, and one beautiful Italia!

A beautiful view of the Adige River from a window in the Castelvecchio in Verona!

A beautiful view of the Adige River from a window in the Castelvecchio in Verona!

Coming from western Pennsylvania, I was surrounded by people who were a lot like me. I knew that in college I wanted to expand my horizons and meet people from all different backgrounds and different walks of life. One of the main things I wanted to do when coming to college was study abroad and experience a new culture. I knew that Penn State and the College of Ag Sciences have great resources that would help me achieve this goal and that is one of the main reasons why I came to Penn State.

I participated in a 10-day study abroad trip that was an embedded course in the Department of Biology. An embedded course is a course that meets on campus in Penn State during the semester but has an international experience either during or after the semester. Two classes were required for this experience and they were, Italian 175 and Biology 475N: "Anatomy in Italy: Cadavers, Culture, and Science" and the international experience took place in Verona, Bologna, Florence, and Rome in Italy over spring break. I chose this program because I thought it would be a great way to combine two of my passions, anatomy and art. I never imagined that I would be able to combine art and science so I was very surprised when I found this opportunity.

I learned so much from this experience. I learned basic Italian language skills that would be necessary to get around the various cities and have basic conversations with locals. This experience also taught me that it is ok to make mistakes and learn from them. My Italian skills were far from perfect but I was willing to put myself out there and try to communicate and it was ok if I failed because I was trying (the locals were so helpful and loved that I was trying)! I also learned a lot about the education system for Italian medical students and it was very interesting to see how their educational styles compared and differed from the US systems. For example I took a cadaver anatomy course before going abroad and my professor stressed being able to really get hands-on to feel the anatomy and see first hand what was going on. When visiting an Italian cadaver lab, the cadavers were in perfect condition after dissection because the students did not have many opportunities to touch the cadavers, they were mainly lectured to by the professors.

I loved this experience so much because as a future medical educator I found a way to combine two very different fields. I think that as an anatomy student, learning about how anatomy shaped art gave me an exciting new perspective of how I approach anatomy. I think that learning more about the humanities has helped me shape the way I think of complex problems by expanding my view of an issue at hand to go beyond the scientific issue and see the issue on multiple planes. Overall this experience gave me the confidence to travel, communicate with others, and find connections between things that I didn't think was possible.

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802