US student sparks backlash for ‘privileged’ essay in which she ‘hates every moment’ she studied abroad in Florence
An American student studying in Florence has sparked debate after writing an essay about “despising” the Italian city while studying abroad.
on March 9th, insider published a personal essay by New York University student Stacia Datskovska about her fall semester abroad in Florence, Italy. In the article, the journalism and international relations student explained that her study abroad experience was very different from what she imagined — full of “summer flirting with people who called me ‘Bella'” and “ice cream dripping from my fingers from the heat.” “.
But between her seven roommates, an online internship, and “hostile” locals, Datskovska said she “loathed the sights, hated the people, and couldn’t wait to return home to my New York campus.”
The NYU coed explained that her heavy workload meant her study abroad program “looked dramatically different” from that of her seven roommates, many of whom “went out into the wee hours to take advantage of Italy’s young drinking age.”
Datskovska expressed how she felt the pressure to travel around Europe on the weekends like her fellow students, which struck her as “like a tiring form of escapism”. Although she spent most “solitary” weekends in Florence enjoying the local sights and sounds, this “lack of human interaction” made her “feel disillusioned with the fact that nobody in my study abroad program seemed to share my values.”
During her semester abroad, Datskovska also had run-ins and some “verbal confrontations” with “hostile, inconsiderate, and absurd” Italian locals. “I’m not quite sure who I loathed more during my stay in Italy: my American classmates or the locals,” she wrote. “For example, two women on the bus were once talking about me, looking me up and down and scoffing.”
In response, Datskovska decided to dress as American as possible, sporting oversized hoodies and streetwear brands. “The Italians rolled their eyes when I passed them on the street,” she said.
However, she concluded her essay with a reminder that her experience should not deter students from studying abroad in Florence. “My feelings aren’t every college student’s experience — but I can’t be the only one who thought studying abroad was a nightmare, either,” she wrote.
The personal essay immediately went viral on Twitter this week after podcaster Ciarán Dold shared screenshots of the article on Twitter. “No self-knowledge,” they captioned the tweet, which has since been viewed more than a million times.
In response, Twitter users called out the article for maintaining an idealized view of Europe, with some claiming they would expect nothing less from Americans abroad.
“Finding out that Florence isn’t New York and Europeans aren’t Americans must have been brutal,” Sabina Ciofu tweeted sarcastically.
“Therefore, Americans should be banned from entering Europe,” said another.
“The absolute claim,” read a third tweet.
Others simply blamed media portrayals and classic romantic comedies for the romanticization of holiday destinations like Italy. “I blame Lizzie McGuire,” one person joked. Another tweeted: “This is a white lotus Character.”
“Emily in Paris has done irreparable cultural damage,” said one Twitter user, while another noted, “You can’t just land in Florence expecting to dive into your perfect Italian fantasy lol.”
Despite some backlash, many social media users also sympathized with Datskovska’s experience while studying abroad. One person agreed that traveling alone to a foreign country can make someone feel lonely, while others thought universities should do away with study abroad programs altogether.
“I totally understand where she’s from lol,” said one tweet.
“I’m glad a lot of people are realizing how stupid it is to study abroad,” wrote another. “I think it’s something that colleges should strive to get rid of. I wish I had never gone, but for some reason I felt pressured by my colleagues.”
Meanwhile, one person said she “understands the feeling that no one shares her values” and “misses her homeland,” but feels she should have “made the most of her time” abroad.
The Independent has contacted insider and Datskovska for comment.
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/nyu-student-study-abroad-florence-insider-b2300903.html US student sparks backlash for ‘privileged’ essay in which she ‘hates every moment’ she studied abroad in Florence