Wednesday, May 17, 2017


To kick off our study abroad blogging journey, I would like to start by introducing everyone. Our group is comprised of 13 undergraduate students, 2 graduate assistants, and an Assistant Professor, Dr. Andrea DeMaria. Our shared interests brought us together to conduct women’s health research and gain an understanding of Italian women’s reproductive health experiences, with specific focuses on health access, contraception, menstruation, pubic hair removal practices and sexual behaviors.

Starting at the end of 2016, our group began having monthly meetings to build a community, learn about Italian culture, and develop our research skills. We taught skills on how to use Dropbox and Zotero, how to critique our online survey and become comfortable with the interview guide that we will be using. A group of Italian exchange students came to one of our meetings and shared cultural norms and expectations for while we are in Florence. We learned about dining behaviors, street style and fashion, things to do in major Italian cities, and key differences between Italy and the United States from a student’s perspective.

We ended the semester by holding a potluck meeting at Dr. DeMaria’s house. Each student prepared an Italy-inspired appetizer or dessert for all of us to share. We bonded over delicious food and the excitement for our departure in 31 days. After eating, we sat in a circle and shared what “culture” means to us and which cultures we belong to. We then discussed the importance of learning new cultures and embracing diversity.

We cannot wait to start packing and embark on this journey. Feel free to subscribe to our blog and read about our travels along the way. Each day, a different person will be posting about their experiences.

This post was written by Audrey Rehberg, a first-year doctoral student in Consumer Science from Westfield, IN. Her research interests include male and female sexual health issues and the correlates of sexual pleasure. 

1 comment:

  1. Very Nice introduction Audrey to your upcoming journey. I love that you prepared yourselves well in several areas of interest.