Coffee and Comfort Zones

Morgan Haskins
Major: Graphic and Printing Sciences
Book Arts in Italy, Summer I, 2018
It’s been a little over a month since I’ve come back from my study abroad trip in Italy, and I still miss it. I miss the art classes, and the friends, and definitely the food. I ate a lot of pasta and pizza and gelato, and while I haven’t tried to recreate any dishes at home yet, I started drinking a lot of coffee while I was there and have continued to do so back home. I didn’t realize how much Italians love their coffee breaks until we spent our first week in Florence and every day our professors would give us a break to go to a café in the middle of the morning. It helped break up the day and made everything so much more relaxed to continue working in the studio. I enjoyed a lot of cappuccinos and lattes, which was weird because I didn’t used to like the taste of coffee, but all the coffee in Italy was such good quality that it was hard to not like it.

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Image: Croissant and coffee break during studio in Florence.

Another interesting thing that I noticed was how the communication barriers and culture shock started to disappear. It became easier to walk into a shop or a restaurant and greet people with “Ciao!” and leave saying “Grazie!”. Of course, everyone could tell that we were Americans, and it didn’t help that while we were in Florence and Venice we were surrounded by tourists, but going to Cornuda was where I felt those barriers starting to come down. Cornuda is a small town in northern Italy where we spent the middle portion of our trip. Staying there really helped us connect with some locals and get out of our comfort zones. We ate dinner at a local wine festival there a few times and we were the only ones who spoke English, so we really had to struggle through our Italian pronunciations to order food, which became really entertaining. Experiencing this kind of intercultural communication has allowed me to take more chances in the States and to not be afraid of stepping out of what is comfortable.

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Image: This is the amazing group of women I traveled with!

Going on this trip is something that I’ll definitely never forget. I was able to explore my passions and learn a lot about myself in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to back home. So as cliché as it sounds, go on a study abroad trip while you still can to learn about the world around you and to expand your perspectives, it’s worth it.

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