One of the best parts about studying abroad is the possibility to immerse in the host country’s language and culture. On February 20, 2019 the students of ISI Florence were given a unique opportunity to enjoy a langue exchange session with the students of the Giulio Douhet Air Force Academy of Florence.
ISI Florence arranged for the Italian cadets to speak with the Italian level three, four, and five classes. The cadets are Italian students enrolled in a school where they study various branches of the Italian military. Each student’s goal is to obtain a position in the Italian military after their schooling. The event took place at Palazzo Rucellai and lasted about an hour and a half. The meetings with the airforce cadets were academically centered, as they allowed us to practice speaking Italian and provided exposure to an aspect of Italian culture that was new to us, the Italian military. At the same time, I think a lot of us forgot that this was an academic experience as we were having such friendly conversations with our Italian peers. We found that we had a lot of common interests, and when we didn’t, both the ISI Florence students and the Italian cadets were excited to hear about a ‘new hobby’ that was ‘the norm’ in a different culture. Many of our conversations ended with the cadets giving us some new restaurant recommendations or with individuals from both groups exchanging Instagram handles. When reflecting on the experience of studying abroad, the language exchange with Italian cadets is an activity that is likely to stand out in the minds of ISI Florence students. The chance to improve one’s Italian and learn more about the Italian culture, while also genuinely making some new friends, is a great memory to add to our time studying abroad at ISI Florence.