The Influence of Foreign Travel

Describe all significant travel outside your home country for studies or employment. Why did you pursue your experience abroad? How long did you stay (include dates)? How did it enhance your understanding of cultural differences?

During my junior year of high school, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a student exchange program to Italy sponsored by the Ontario Student Exchange Foundation and Intercultura. The exchange program worked on a reciprocal basis: my Italian partner, Simone Pisana, came to stay with my family in Canada for three months in the fall of 1995, and after a three month separation I went to Italy, where I lived from March through May of 1996. Simone bore the brunt of the situational unfamiliarity; by the time I went to Italy, Simone and I had become fast friends (and remain so today).

My initial trip to Italy was so successful that I chose to return for ten weeks in the summer of 1997 to work for the Pisana family real estate business. It was a wonderful opportunity to gain further cultural understanding of the differences between Italian and American culture. Business, like life, is done very differently in Italy, and at a much slower pace. I also had an all-expense paid working vacation on a beautiful Italian island for the summer high season. I worked doing written and verbal translation from Italian to English and vice versa, escorting clients to rental units, running odd jobs, and doing "loss-prevention"...

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