I chose to study in Italy for a year. I studied in Siena, Italy over the fall semester and Catania, Italy during the spring through CET Academic Programs. Tasting homemade gnocchi, a perfect product of my mashed eggs, potato, and flour was certainly a highlight of my experience in Siena. As was the point in my semester (some time in October) when I could finally find my way to the gym and back without getting lost, or when the barista at the coffee shop I frequented every morning finally asked me what I was working on. My experience in Siena provided a real introduction to life in small-town Italy.
My second semester spent in Catania, Sicily provided me with a completely different, southern view of Italian life and culture. From joining the local gym to purchasing octopus (polpo) at the local fish market to dancing and drumming in local African drum circles, I was able to experience true Sicilian life and build my own Sicilian social circle and experience. I will never forget my first Sicilian Easter brunch eaten in the family house of Cristina (my Sicilian friend) and conducted in a mix of Sicilian dialect and Italian. I would advise anyone looking at study abroad in Italy to consider studying in the south, and to get out and really make local friends.