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.
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.