Summer Parnell

Summer Parnell is an undergraduate student majoring in art history and minoring in Italian. She is a study-abroad aficionada: an alumna of OU in Arezzo, she is currently living and studying in Bologna. Here is what she has to say about her experience as an OU student of Italian so far!

“Ciao amici! My name is Summer, and I am an OU undergraduate student majoring in art history. I’ve now been living and studying in Italy for almost seven months, and it has truly been one of the most remarkable opportunities afforded to me; every day I wake up and ask myself, “Is this actually my reality? I must be in a dream.”

My experiences in Italy thus far have been inspirational, challenging, and insightful. Before arriving in Italy, I was flooded with thoughts about what my time here might look like, yet I never could’ve imagined that it would become what is has. Even the most routine and ordinary days offer a mixture of beauty, adventure, excitement and, naturally, a bit of nervousness. Each day is characterized by the unknown and the familiar. Italy has become my home away from home; however, there is always something new to see, something new to learn, and something new to take a picture of!

I began my adventure with the OU program in Arezzo, and I’m now participating in the exchange program with the University of Bologna. The Arezzo and Bologna programs possess similarities and differences, although both offer fantastic Italian experiences. OU in Arezzo focuses on creating an OU community within the larger Italian community, thus I always felt provided with the perception of home. The multitude of events and trips planned throughout the semester kept us students busy, and it was comforting to be surrounded by other students who could relate to my experiences, thoughts, and feelings.  In contrast, the Bologna exchange program requires one to create their own sense of community. It seems intimidating, but the University of Bologna boasts a large international student population and there are numerous opportunities to become involved with the community and meet new people. Being completely immersed in the Italian culture in Bologna teaches me every day that I’m capable of overcoming whatever challenge I encounter- an intimate awareness that I’m sure will carry on throughout my life wherever I go and whatever I do.

Both Arezzo and Bologna are marvelous Italian cities with an abundance of history and charm, and I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to experience Italy as I continue my collegiate career. As an OU student, I urge everyone to consider studying abroad in Italy. I have learned a tremendous amount about life, myself, and the world as a whole. Whether in Arezzo or Bologna, the immensity of the value of my time spent here cannot be overstated (and of course the food is phenomenal!)”