Kathryn Saluk

Major: Event Management
Class: Senior
Timeframe: Summer 2023
Type of Experience: Study
Program: Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute
Destination: Italy

Overall Experience

My experience in Italy was amazing. I was able to see such beautiful cities and experience the amazing history, while taking classes with other abroad students and learning more about the culture around me. Every weekday, I explored the city in the morning and attended classes in the afternoon. On the weekends, I traveled with other Iowa State students across Italy and to different countries like France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Learning experience

As I mentioned previously, I traveled solo during my time in Europe. At times it was stressful, but it allowed me to really learn to be independent and problem-solve in situations. This learning experience not only grew my confidence, but reminded me to be more detail oriented in my planning. Also, experiencing different cultures was very valuable. While all in Europe, every single country had different traditions, cultures, etc. This was a great reminder that we should learn and experience other cultures besides our own.

Memorable experience

My most memorable experience was traveling to the Amalfi Coast in Italy with a couple of my friends from Iowa State. It was absolutely beautiful and while some things went wrong, we were able to have an amazing experience with a private boat tour and staying at an air bnb of a small village above the coast. It was magical and my favorite place I have ever been.

What did you not expect?

I think the biggest surprise was the difference in eating times to the United States. I grew up eating dinner at 5:30 pm after my Dad came home from work, where as in Italy we ate dinner 8:00-9:00 pm every night. It was an adjustment but again, a reminder of how different every country is.

What advice would you give?

My advice is to be optimistic, but expect ups and downs. I didn't expect to be homesick during my time abroad, but it was something that really impacted me. If you do feel homesick, try filling your day with amazing things you would never experience in the US. Spend time with friends around you, this will help to distract the home sickness.

How has this experience impacted your life?

I think traveling abroad allowed me to really grow my independence, as many times you do have to navigate things alone. I think it pushed me to grow in ways I didn't know I could, and take on new things like traveling solo. In regards to my career, I think my academic experience has impacted that portion the most. I took the course An Italian Sensory Experience: Pairing Food and Wine and was able to learn all about the pairing experience. As a future event planner, this course prepared me for planning various events' food and beverage.

How did you learn about this experience?

My roommates Maddie and Jenna studied at LdM in the Spring of 2023 and they loved their experience. I wanted to study abroad and felt this program best fit my interests and needs.

International Connections