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Student Reports: Christian Sharpe in Milan, Italy

Study Abroad group pose on a cliff above an Italian city.Through the University of Tennessee’s Engineering Program, I have learned and seen many incredible things. My study abroad trip to Milan, Italy, is one of the main sources of my excitement. In addition to the plethora of material we covered in class, the experience of another culture across the world in a beautiful country was spectacular. The class’s focus on bikes also spawned an appreciation of the vehicle that I did not have prior. When we all took a turn on the bike that we built ourselves, we all felt a little bit of Italian pride.

I arrived in Milan a full day before the rest of the class did. That twenty-four hours was the worst of the whole trip. Before leaving the states, I didn’t think I would be susceptible to culture shock. Yet, being in a new place with a language you do not speak led to intense anxiety. Thankfully, most of that was lifted once other students arrived. Having the newly made friends was necessary to help adapt to the new culture. Quickly I began to feel comfortable in Milan and was ready to branch out to new cities.

Everywhere I went, beauty abounded. Much of it stemmed from the architecture present which relied heavily on parts of the course we were taking. Most places were a blend of marble and concrete, the former of which we covered extensively. The appreciation for the technical side of things came in tandem with the aesthetic appreciation. Even when we traveled, the trains used steel and other alloys we examined. Italy was a true blend of innovation and history.

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