Toreros Abroad: SYE Florence Trip Opens a Whole New World

Toreros Abroad: SYE Florence Trip Opens a Whole New World

Caitlan Bertram is a sophomore Communication Studies major and French language and marketing minor. In January, Bertram went on the University of San Diego’s Second Year Experience Abroad trip to Florence, Italy. This study abroad experience is unique because it is open only to USD sophomores. Bertram took a course, spent time with USD staff members and went on side trips around Italy. Below, she reflects on her experience for the USD News Center. 

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world. However, I never imaged Firenze, Italia as my first destination. In just three short weeks, this beautiful city changed my perspective on the world forever. It was my first European excursion and I was fortunate enough to travel to 11 cities in Italy, explore the rich history, art, food, and culture, and develop a deeper understanding of other religious cultures and practices through the 'Exploring Religious Meaning' course.

It was incredible to not only learn about another culture but to see the ornate art pieces and buildings in front of me. At every corner I was in awe with the beauty and wonder of this rich city.

With my camera in one hand and the excitement of exploring a foreign land it was easy to get lost in the city. I was constantly mesmerized by the vibrancy of the colored houses in Cinque Terre, the vineyards and countryside in San Gimignano, the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italian fashion, the graffiti art in Florence, and the endless plates of rich pastas.

I now have a deeper appreciation for art and history and a yearning to learn more about the world. Each day I traveled to another city or a new area of Firenze. I would mindlessly walk throughout this city staring at the brick walls, admiring the reflections of the buildings in the river, watching the locals, learning about an artist, exploring cathedrals, and standing high above the city looking down on the red tile roofs. I savored the food and the friendships I made on this trip. It was an amazing experience to be a part of a community larger than yourself and to be surprised with new adventures at every corner.

Through this experience in Firenze I learned about a whole new world that is just waiting for me to explore. Coming back to USD I have a greater appreciation in the beauty of the campus and the beauty of others. I learned to try new things and take risks even if you do not speak the language nor have any idea where you are. Life is about perspective and you just need to change your eye in order to change your behaviors and values.

I am very grateful for my little taste of USD Study Abroad opportunities and my time spent in Italy and look forward to going back soon!

Arrivederci, Firenze!

Photos by Joy Brunetti

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