My name is Emily McCoy and I’m a senior in the Exercise Physiology program. I’m 21 years old and originally from Parkersburg, WV.
My new home for the semester is located in the beautiful city of Milan, Italy. Here, I will be doing an internship through the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health at the University of Milan.
During my internship, I will be involved in a research study, as well as writing my senior thesis paper. When I’m not in the lab, I fully intend to spend every moment exploring Italy and eating my body weight in gelato.
What made you want to study abroad?
I have participated in other study abroad programs through West Virginia University, including a spring break trip to El Salvador and a summer trip to Brazil. I quickly became addicted to traveling and seeing what the world has to offer.
When I heard about the opportunity to study in Italy, I couldn’t pass it up. Not only do you learn a lot about other cultures through these programs, you also get a chance to reflect on your own country and make friends that will last a lifetime.
What were your expectations for this trip?
I have tried not to form expectations for my trip, because I have learned that things don’t always go as expected, especially in a foreign country. I do, however, expect to eat a lot of pizza, pasta and gelato in my short four months abroad.
What do you hope to accomplish or do while abroad?
While in a big city like Milan, I hope to learn a lot about both the traditional and modern cultures of Italy. I also hope to learn more Italian and travel to as many of the famous places and sites as possible. Venice, Florence, Rome, Cinque Terre and Naples are a few cities currently on my list. It would be crazy to live in the “fashion capital of the world” and not learn some fashion tips as well.
What has been your biggest culture shock while in Italy?
I think not having a car to get places has definitely been my biggest culture shock. To enter the city by car during the regular work hours of the week, you must first pay a special tax/fee to the government. For this reason, as well as the overwhelming amount of traffic, it is easier for people to walk or take public transportation, like the metro or trolley. I walk to the grocery store, take the metro to the shopping piazzas, and occasionally take a bus to the movie theater. Time management and a good pair of shoes are definitely necessary for Milan!
You can visit Emily’s personal blog here.