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Dialogue of Civilizations Italy

Students in Italy in front of view of water

Written by Louiza Wise, a third year as an Environmental Engineering student.

About me

Louiza Wise is entering her third year as an Environmental Engineering student. She is involved on campus through volunteering in a research lab, active participation in the Panama chapter of Engineers Without Borders and as a member of the Northeastern Cross Country and Track and Field team. Outside of her time as a student she enjoys snowboarding, hiking and all types of exploring!

Dialogue of Civilizations in Italy

As our time in Italy drew to a close, it seemed opportune for some cliche reflections.

While I’d heard from so many people that study abroad trips will change your life, I never for once believed them. Yeah, I knew I was going to have a good time and learn a lot but I’m not one to be so easily “life-changed”. I never could have predicted what would lay before me and let me tell you my life has been changed. Coming from having forced coffee down only in dire circumstances, I am now an avid cappuccino drinker (even turning up my nose at a hotel coffee because it was too watery); I don’t know how I can possibly eat bread or cheese again in the US; I’ve learned some narley new things about waste (even some things I could see myself doing as a career), and I’ve met 18 amazing people who never ceased to make me laugh.

Even though Matze Knop may have taught us Americans some valuable lessons on the objects of Italy in his hit single, Numero Uno, he never could have conveyed the feelings and culture of the country. He captured the drinks: aqua minerale, grappe speziale, but couldn’t transfer the smell of the shepherds’ house wine. He knew the foods: mozzarella, mortadella (with nutella), but would have never lead us to predict the taste of warm ricotta cheese milked from a sheep two hours prior and served with fresh honey. He touched on the culture: belle donna, mama mia, caio caio, but certainly could not make us feel how a 104 year-old man would feel riding his bike in the middle of the street.

As I write this, the sun is setting on the Mediterranean with the Sardinian mountains looming in the distance and I’m smiling and laughing at myself about how cheesy all this sounds but I truly have no other way to express how grateful I am for this experience. While I never got the chance to play chess with an old Italian man, this trip far exceeded any expectations I had set.

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering