Keaton Schrank, Ferrara

Wheaton College

Even though I was in my third year of studying the Italian language, I still felt incredibly nervous about going to Ferrara and taking classes at the university. At the beginning of the semester, I remember feeling like there was no way that I could pass my exams in Italian and that I would have to struggle through the entire semester. However, the Middlebury staff and my Italian friends assured me that I could pass my classes, and, after some hard work, I ended up passing all of my classes with flying colors. My academic work has always been extremely important to me so I did focus quite a bit on academics, but my semester in Ferrara was about so much more than grades.

Living in a city where English isn’t widely spoken was certainly a challenge, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. Though it could be frustrating at times, being immersed in the Italian culture and language allowed me to experience a whole new way of life and meet some truly extraordinary people. Not only did I improve upon my Italian language skills, but I also learned to see the world in a whole new way and experience a completely different way of life. From class field trips to Rome (no big deal, right?) and eating traditional homemade pasta to exploring a medieval castle and running a 5k through the historic part of the city, my semester in Italy was truly remarkable, and I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to experience life in Ferrara!