Michelle Russo: Miami as Text 2023

Michelle at the Frost Museum / cc 4.0

Michelle Russo is a student at Florida International University Honors College, double majoring in Biochemistry and Natural and Applied Sciences with a minor is Nutrition. She is on the Pre-Med track, in hopes to enter a MD/PhD program when she graduates with her Bachelors in Science. With this education, she aspires to help treat and do research in the neuroscience.

Encounter as Text

Image by Michelle Russo / cc. 40

Italy has become the top travel place on my bucket list since my freshman year of high school, when I took Italian. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to go study abroad in Italy with the FIU Honors college. I’m excited not just about seeing the beautiful sights but to learn about its culture. I believe Italy is rich in history and achievements waiting to be uncovered in front of me. 

Starting the class, I was nervous and still a bit in disbelief that I will be going to Italy in summer. This is the first time I will be leaving the United States besides Venezuela. I have traveled to a couples of different states in the United States with my old synchronized swimming team where I learned to be independent, but nothing like this experience that is coming up. When I was younger, my dream was to visit the Eiffel Tower, but now that I have learned some of the language and culture from my high school class, Italy has made it to the top of my list. In addition to hearing stories from my uncle these past couple of years, 

In the picture above you see my parents above me, my grandma to the right, and my aunt and uncle with their one year old son. My uncle, Giampiero Marini, is Italian and Venezuelan but grew up for part of his life in Italy. I had known he had Italian roots but I really starting hearing about them when I began mentioning this study abroad class in the summer, about his homeland. Since then I have heard all good and beautiful things about Italy. He has recommended me places to visit and eat. His mother has even offered her house, which is near the coast of Camerota, Italy.

There is a lot that has to be prepared ahead of time to get a good experience from studying abroad. The luggage situation in Italy is a nerve-racking topic, not only for me but for most of the class. A great number of students have not traveled to Italy with just a book bag. Even the ones that have traveled there before, have not had as restricted luggage space. Also, planning the itinerary for before, after and on free days of the program are important to get the most out of it.

Based on what John Bailey has spoken to us about the program, I do have high expectations going into it. Not only will he be showing us iconic places, but rural areas not many tourists usually go to. Also, having a professor that knows the area will be of great help in experiencing the food, the community, their way of living, and so much. My friend that is also going on the study abroad program with us, Ashley Lopez, has gone to Italy before. Especially on free days, having a close friend, someone that knows a bit of the area, will be very helpful to not waste as much time looking for something to do.

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