Isabel Arnez: Miami as Text 2023

Italy Spring Encounter

Ever since I was a kid, my parents promoted traveling as a means of better understanding the history of the world and why we have the influences and ideologies we do today. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled outside the country a few times growing up, the most memorable being visiting parts of Europe with my middle school. Not long after the traveling bug had bit me, I found myself looking for another opportunity to explore and took an International Relations study abroad class to Canada as a result. The more I traveled, the more addicted I got. It was like zooming into a Country with a microscope, and it went beyond the limiting resources taught in school. It was a deep dive into the history that shaped the people that lived there today, and is why I wanted to enroll in a study abroad my final year here at FIU. What better country than Italy which influenced so many people across the world through conquest, government, and the Renaissance and who’s impact is still felt today. Especially as the daughter of immigrants, it truly showed me to what extent most cultures have been impacted and influenced by others (whether they liked it or not) and as a result, taught me to not have shame in my roots even if I am a minority.

If history is told by the victors then we are only getting half the story, and I want the full thing. As mentioned before, I want to grasp a better understanding of the world and how it works, and how it is all connected. Even just in our first class when going over ways the Romans impacted society, it was fun seeing all the aspects and ways Italy has been hidden in our everyday life not just government, but also in small phrases such as “bankrupt”. I do not know that much about Italia if I am being honest, some scattered pieces here and there but I hope to gain a more rounded knowledge about it, and a better grasp of it historically during this class. While I am a bit nervous going away from home for a month, I am also excited to live the everyday life there and not just go as a tourist. 

Overall, I am looking forward to getting a full immersion in one of the richest cultures in the world, and going to Venice has always been one of my dreams. Mostly because living in such beautiful houses so close to the water seems so surreal to me, like its been flooded. A younger me would say its because I love the water.  Especially after Notre Dame caught on fire, I’ve been even more eager to see historic landmarks and iconic places before they disappear or get blocked off for preservation. I hope this program better prepares me for future travels, and how to properly appreciate and live in a different culture.

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