I love health science and hope to use the molecular aspect of it into clinical setting to prevent genetic and chronic diseases. Following that path, I hope to get a M.S. degree in Genetic Counseling and potentially a PhD. in molecular epidemiology. However, I also believe in the power of humanities, and in fact they bring me refreshing views when I’m too stressed out from science schoolwork. Growing up in China and then moving to the US for college, I appreciate the personal growth, friendship, and enriched mindset I got from not only Americans and their cultures, but also people from all over the world. That curiosity and open-mindedness for diversity, together with my passion about food and cooking, brought me into my Take Five topic – We Are What We Eat: A Comparative Study of Italian and Chinese Food Cultures, and hence Arezzo study abroad program in 2020.
To be honest, it took me sometime to adapt, as I’ve never learned any Italian language, culture, or history in my life. The only things I knew about Italy before were pasta, pizza, the colosseum and Roman empire, as well as Mussolini – the famous names. Despite the initial insecureness, I realized that this country has so much to offer. Other than studying and appreciating the legacy of Roman architecture, Renaissance art, religious traditions, medieval stories, and recent documentary films, I am also immersed in the Italian lifestyle and surely will take some aspects with me for the rest of my life. The farm-to-table, home-made food, the abundant musical and artistic events such as operas and carnivals, and the afternoon walks all speak to Italian’s appreciation towards the simple everyday activities and accompany from their loved ones.
My own experience in Arezzo taught me the idea of “less is more”. One thing I told my boyfriend and parents about how I feel here is that, I have time. I have time to sleep well, I have time to go to the gym, I have time to cook on weekends or visit places, I have time to stop on the way to enjoy the sunshine and look at the clothes in the shop windows. And I feel good about it! Compared to the college life in Rochester, where everyone (including me) “competes” how little hours they sleep, how many jobs/researches they are doing, how many social groups they are in, I really appreciate this slower but equally productive pace here. I’ve made the decision to incorporate this philosophy into my future life!
Though my journey in Arezzo has been interrupted and shortened, I still feel blessed that I was able to learn so much and had the opportunity to immerse in the life in an Italian small town. I hope the coronavirus situation in Italy and the rest of the world gets better soon, and I’m sure I will go back to Arezzo again, as I feel incomplete with this journey.