What to Expect During Your First Month at CIMBA

Written by khettlinger March 5, 2018

Ciao from Paderno del Grappa! My name is Karsyn Hettlinger and I am a sophomore at the University of Iowa studying Management and Marketing. Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, especially after I spent a month in Germany living with an exchange family while in high school. I have been in Italy for a little over a month now and CIMBA has given me numerous opportunities to grow as a person. This entire first month has been about learning, growing, and adjusting. There have been so many differences that I needed to adapt to. For example, new school, new friends, new classes, new country, new continent! I am so happy with the first month I have had and I am eager to keep moving forward and breaking out of my shell while abroad. 

One of the first things CIMBA gave me was the LIFE program. LIFE stands for Leadership Initiative for Excellence and is a weekend-long event. This is what I did my very first weekend on campus and it really shaped the outcome of my time here so far. It brought me extremely close with tons of people in this program. I was thankful for the push to get to know so many of my classmates because it made us comfortable with each other almost instantly. 

Another event we had was our first of three formal dinners. This was an experience unlike any other and I ate more food than I could have imagined. Between many appetizers, risotto, the main course, dessert, and coffee at the end of the meal, I was shocked. Before the formal dinner, we had a quick etiquette seminar where I learned a ton of insights into the professional world’s table manners. I never realized there was so much I did not know about just eating a dinner with others. 

I also have been given numerous travel days throughout this semester, including the first extended weekend that happened at the beginning of February. Thirteen other people and I all traveled together to Munich and Vienna for our first long weekend. Even though traveling with that many people sounds a little crazy, it was such a great experience for all of us to get close to each other. We got to explore two new countries together and it was a trip I will never forget. I learned so much about traveling in general and with a large group of people. I am used to having my parents plan trips so this has forced me to be organized and prepared for anything on my own.

Making sure that I could take classes that would transfer for needed credit while abroad was a huge component for when I was looking for a program. So far, I could not be happier with the classes I am in. Every single professor I have makes sure that their classes are engaging for us and that we get the most out of them. I even have a teacher that gives travel tips at the beginning of every single class. This has honestly helped me so much with travel plans because I already have a jump start on places I want to see in different cities. 

My first month in Paderno del Grappa has made me so excited to see what the next two months have in store for me. I hope I can continue growing and being more independent while I study, travel, and explore!