One of Santa Clara’s main attractions is its study abroad program. Students get to take their pick of countries all around the world including South Africa, Germany, and of course the motherland of all of our favorite carbs, Italy. Juniors get to experience what it is like to be part of another culture, but we never take a second to see how people from other countries experience Santa Clara culture.
“I wanted to come to America because it provided me more opportunities economically as well as it gave me a clean slate,” said Francesca Caruso, an international student from Rome.
Though she has only been here for three short quarters, Francesca is already assimilating to the Santa Clara culture as if she was born here. But she did face some culture shock. “The people in Italy are just different, as you could imagine. The people in Italy are more spoiled by their parents and they care more about how they look on the outside. Here people care more about what they person is like, rather than how they look,” said Caruso.
She points out that with our clubs such as Into the Wild and the Santa Clara Community Action Program (or SCCAP) people at Santa Clara would rather spend their time and money on a camping trip in Big Sur or on a sailing trip under the Golden Gate Bridge. In Italy, they are expected to have the top designer bags, and they are expected to wake up an hour and a half before school in order to put together the perfect outfit for the day.
Caruso sees her time at Santa Clara as a gift. She is going all in and trying to get the “American Experience.” Whether it is getting up and doing karaoke in front of a large crowd or going swimming in the Benson fountain at night, Caruso is no longer “doing as the Romans do.” One of the biggest parts of getting her that “American experience” is, as expected, learning the language. Caruso studied in Australia prior to coming to America in order to learn the language. With the help of her friends, Caruso was able to pick up the different lingo and the different sayings faster than she imagined. “Studying in Australia gave me all of the rules that I needed to know, but coming to Santa Clara and having real conversations has taught me the language more than any course,” said Caruso. With the help of her friends, Caruso was able to pick up the different lingo and the different sayings faster than she imagined.
Starting college is a frightening experience for everyone, especially for those like Caruso who move across the world to do so. “Italy will always be my home, but I will wouldn’t trade my time in America for anything in the world,” said Caruso. Though she is from a very different culture than she is in now, Caruso sees having two very different homes as a chance to find who she really is, while as the same time getting to start a new adventure.
By Laura LaBombarda