Smith Shares Her Experience Studying In Italy
Senior Chelbie Olivier-Smith is in Florence, Italy pursuing her bachelor’s degree abroad and exploring Europe all at the same time.
“I knew that I wanted to study in Italy, and the study abroad fair at Lynn helped me connect with admissions from FUA,” said Olivier-Smith. “I received a brochure, and the study abroad office helped me figure out if Florence was the right path for me and helped me throughout the entire application process.”
With the help of Lynn’s study abroad office, Olivier-Smith enrolled in Florence University of the Arts (FUA) and moved to Florence for the fall semester. Olivier-Smith is in FUA’s experiential learning program, which is an internship program offered only in Florence. Olivier-Smith studies multimedia journalism and takes courses that fit into her major while learning about the culture of Italy.
“I am involved in the journalism experiential learning program, and in this I write articles and copy edit for the school’s newsletter, magazine, web page and blog,” said Olivier-Smith. “It gives me hands-on experience of the career that I want post-graduation, and, [because] it is in a real communications office, I am surrounded by hectic energy as I would be in a real office.”
Olivier-Smith spoke about her initial reaction to arriving in Italy and her plans for the rest of the semester. Having never visited Europe, Olivier-Smith was interested to see the cultural differences in Italy and learn more about the history of Florence.
“I was in such shock because of how beautiful it was,” said Olivier-Smith. “This is my first time in Europe, so seeing the architecture and the immediate differences between Italy and America was so cool.”
Since touching down in Florence and visiting other parts of Italy, Olivier-Smith has also traveled to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and stopped in Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest. Her future trips include visiting Interlaken, Switzerland, Lake Como in Italy, Barcelona and Madrid in Spain and Paris, France.
“The best trip I have taken thus far is hands down Amalfi Coast where I got to see Sorrento, Capri, and Positano,” said Olivier-Smith. “From the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea to climbing Mt. Vesuvius and touring Pompeii, it was all very surreal. I had so much fun, and I know that I have made memories that will stay with me for life.”
Aside from these trips she has planned, Olivier-Smith mentions her gratitude to be studying and spending the majority of her time in Florence. Olivier-Smith finds differences in how people drive and how restaurants function in Italy versus in America, and she has become more and more aware of other traditions and formalities in the Italian culture.
“Italians seem to be very in-tune with the quality of life, and they are not always on their phones as Americans tend to be,” said Olivier-Smith. “Florence has a personality, and, [because it’s] the Renaissance city, it is such an old-world vibe that encourages you to learn more about it and embrace the small town.”
Olivier-Smith’s high expectations of Florence were met, and she has fallen in love with the city. She finds it hard to be homesick in a place like Florence but adds how often she communicates with her loved ones. Olivier-Smith is glad she took the chance to travel on her own to Europe.
“I decided to go abroad alone to challenge myself to be completely independent and focus on myself,” said Olivier-Smith. “I learn something new every day that I can reflect on and feel myself becoming more well-rounded.”