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Bear Abroad Kimberly in Italy

Kimberly Monarrez

Major: Undeclared

"My most meaningful aspect of my time abroad was getting to share my first European experience with the genuine and all together amazing people I met in this program."


What led you to study abroad? Why did you choose your country/program?

Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. I've always been passionate about learning about different cultures and languages. I chose Italy because I love how beautiful the language is and how close it is to France and Spain which were countries I also visited briefly.      

What was the most interesting cultural experience you had abroad?

One of the most interesting experiences I had was taking a trip to the Amalfi Coast with a company called SmartTrip. There I met and bonded with other students and visited Capri, Napoli, Positano, and Pompeii.

What was the biggest challenge/concern of your study abroad experience? How did you respond?

My biggest challenge was actually learning Italian. I thought that because I know Spanish, Italian would be a breeze but that was not the case. In fact, I consistently mixed up my Spanish with Italian. I responded by studying and working harder. Now I confuse my Spanish with Italian!

Describe a typical day for you abroad.

A typical day in Florence began with attending classes. After classes I always tried to get myself lost in Florence because I feel as if that is the best way to get to know an area. And I was right. I found such small charming little shops and more isolated scenic areas where there were no tourists. It was a magical experience.

What coursework did you take while abroad? How did courses abroad compare with Berkeley classes?

I took a language course and a culture course. The courses were a lot more fast paced then classes here at Berkeley because they were cramming a semester’s worth of work in eight weeks.

What was the most memorable/meaningful aspect of your time abroad?

My most meaningful aspect of my time abroad was getting to share my first European experience with the genuine and all together amazing people I made in this program.

What impact did studying abroad have on you personally?

Studying abroad impacted my interest in learning languages and global affairs. This is why I’m considering in majoring in Peace and Conflict studies.

What would you recommend to students considering studying abroad, especially to your country/program?

I recommend that students consider the weather in Florence. It is extremely hot and humid and air conditioning is considered a luxury. So if you cannot handle heat I recommend attending in the fall.