Sou Min Shin
Sou Min Shin (she/her) - Stanford in Florence
Major: International Relations
College year while abroad: Senior
About the photo: This is a picture of me during the last dinner with the program faculty and cohorts. It was at a hotel rooftop restaurant, where we could see the entire city. The meal was amazing and it was the last time for me to enjoy the beautiful city view.
Questions and Answers with Sou Min
Why did you choose to study abroad in Florence?
I was specifically interested in fashion and Renaissance art, and the courses seemed very engaging and unique, so I wanted to broaden my perspective in Florence..
What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in Florence?
I was worried that I would not be able to get around Florence because I do not know much about the culture and its language, but the staff helped me so much with detailed guidance, so I was able to settle down faster than I have expected.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Florence?
All of my classes were seminars, so students get to know the faculty and classmates very well. Also, these classes were quite different from classes at Stanford because we get to learn about film, art, and even cooking! Also, since I am an international relations major, I was able to fulfill my major requirements by taking some classes in Florence.
What did you learn about yourself while you were studying abroad?
I learned that I love exploring new things and traveling to different cities. I am more spontaneous than I've thought and I definitely enjoyed seminar-based classes because I was able to express my thoughts more and ask questions.
What was the most challenging experience you encountered while you were abroad and what did you learn from it?
When we went to our Bing trip, we had to get on a ferry and most of us were sea sick because of the windy weather, and I've never experienced a severe headache like that before. However, the staff were very supportive and understanding of our condition and helped us out, so I was very thankful of them. This incident made the cohorts to bond more and take care of one another even more.
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
I had to get used to late dinners in Italy. Most Italians have an aperitivo at around 5pm and then eat dinner at 8pm, which is very late for me. I remember being quite full after having almost two meals in the evening, but in a month, I got used to the new routine. By end of the program, it felt strange when I had dinner too early.
What was your favorite part of your everyday life in Florence?
Just walking to class every day was an amazing experience. We always cross the Ponte Vecchio and I would see the river and beautiful buildings in the morning. I was grateful to see such a view and it was great to walk around everywhere in Florence, since it allowed me to look around my surroundings all the time.
What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in Florence?
When we went to Naples for our Bing trip, we went to an opera house, and I have never seen such a beautiful building in my life. During the entire performance, I could stop staring at the golden walls and painted ceiling. Also, the music represented Italian renaissance music, so it was such an honor to listen to musicians perform.
What 5 words would you use to describe your experience?
Invaluable, heart-warming, interactive, unforgettable, renaissance
What was your favorite food you had in Florence?
By far the Florentine steak was the best steak I've had so far. I still think about the steak that I had there since it was so well cooked and delicious. Also, of course, their truffle pasta was the best and now I'm not sure if I can eat American pasta anymore.
What was the most valuable item you took with you on the program?
Miso soup because sometimes eating too much pasta and pizza made me crave Asian food. Italians don't really have soup in their meals.
What was your favorite music/band that you discovered in Florence?
I think I have started to like classical music after watching several opera performances!