Sarah West graduated from PUC this past school year with a Bachelor of Social Work & Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Studies. One year during college, she enrolled in the ACA Argentina program and loved the experience so much that she wanted to do a summer program- so she did. Sarah recently returned stateside after spending the majority of her summer studying abroad at Villa Aurora in Italy. Although there were a few setbacks, she shares that you will never regret going abroad.
Tell us about your time in Italy.
My time in Italy was amazing, even with the few bumps in the road. I got COVID my first week there, so I had to isolate for a week. But once I was freed (tested negative), I was able to return to class with ease. The classes all students take are Conversation, Grammar, art for tours, art history, and Italian culture. If you are not in the intermediate level, then you also take Phonetics. With the ACA program, we visited Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Venice, and Siena. All of them are day trips, except Rome, which is an overnight stay.
What made you want to study in Italy?
I loved the ACA Argentina program so much that I knew I wanted to do a summer program before I graduate. So for me, it was between Italy and Spain. I had heard great things about the Italian cafeteria and that made my choice. I also had been to Italy once before and loved it, so I wanted to spend more time there.
You’ve also studied in Argentina. How have these experiences been different from each other?
The differences between the Argentina and Italy programs are the ability to travel. Italy is about the size of California, so with access to a car, bus, or train, you can really go anywhere in the county. Argentina on the other hand is about as long as the United States, and there are little pockets of towns/cities with nothing in-between. Argentina is good if your goal is to learn Spanish and experience the culture of Argentina. Italy, and I assume other European programs, are good for traveling, but more people will probably know English, so finding a push to learn the language may be a little more difficult.
Describe your time in Italy in three words.
What have been your favorite things about studying abroad in Italy?
I have loved learning about different cultures and history of the countries. I also like meeting people. While I was at the school in Italy, I ran into someone who I had met at the school in Argentina, and that was one of the craziest things I will probably ever experience.
Did PUC play a part in your preparation for Italy?
Yes, because one of my friends had done the ACA Italy year program, and she gave me some good heads up on what to expect. I was also able to conquer the hills of Italy due to the cardio of running around PUC campus.
What would you say to someone who is interested in ACA?
If you are interested in it, DO IT. You will never regret going, and all was regret not doing it. There will never be a time in your life when you will live in Italy for 6 weeks or Argentina for a year. You grow so much as a person and have a better understanding of yourself and the world.