By Caroline Hunt
As groups of American students arrive in Bologna, Italy every few months for a chance to study abroad, this one is no different. Salvador (Sammy) Farve arrived in Bologna on January 12 from his home in Long Beach, Mississippi to continue his education with the Spring Hill College Italy Center program. Sammy has only been here for two weeks and says there are still some things he is struggling with in terms of settling in. Learning a new language is something that rarely comes easy to anyone and something that Sammy says has been the most difficult part of emerging into the Bolognese culture.
“You get super used to always being able to communicate with someone when you need something and don’t realize that it’s a luxury until it’s gone,” Says Sammy. He explained that throughout his semester here in Bologna, he will be taking 12 credit hours, 3 of which will be dedicated to learning Italian. Sammy most often notices the language barrier when he needs to get in touch with someone or get something because at that point it becomes harder to effectively communicate what he needs. Sammy also explains, “The language barrier also makes it harder to meet people and get to know them.” Some of the other American students have agreed that it is intimidating to approach someone who speaks a completely different language.
Sammy is enjoying his time here so far and despite the difficulty in language barriers, tells us some of his favorite things about Bologna so far. “I love the energy,” he says, “everywhere you go is super good vibes.” Sammy also believes that Bologna is very different than where he is from because everyone here is, “progressive and forward thinking as well as accepting to outsiders.” Sammy thinks that Bologna is a beautiful city and has lots of good food. “Before I leave, I want to go to San Luca. I also want to find the best tortellini.” he explains. Sammy enjoys walking around and exploring the city to find new things he has not seen before. He has also already found a few places that he considers to be his favorite to go and hang out with friends or to go and have a meal. Sammy has a large interest in music and says that he feels fortunate to have been able to see ‘Merry Melodies’ where one of his favorite musicians, Sara Bareilles, studied music.
A lot of students who choose to study abroad much like Sammy has, find many things to be difficult and culturally “shocking” but more than anything, the difficulty to communicate is something that almost everyone struggles with. The SHC Italy Center program places American students in a dormitory with Italian students, which is something that a lot of American students find intimidating. Students say that it is hard to find the courage to approach Italian students, but they hope that friendships will develop in time.