April 1, 2011
"Ask Amanda" is a weekly column that invites students to write in with questions about studying abroad to Amanda Knox, America's leading and most (in)famous expert on the subject. In 2007, Amanda first came to Perugia to study Italian at the Università per Stranieri. She obviously must have loved it, because she has never left! Knox made headlines worldwide in 2009, when she was convicted in the murder of her British roommate. She writes this advice column from her cozy cell as she awaits her 500th appeal.
I am planning on participating in an independent Study Abroad Program this summer in Spain. The idea of living and learning in another country is really exciting to me. I am noticing, however, that I keep coming across the words "Student Visa required." I am confused. What should my next step be to secure this requirement? How do you suggest that I go about getting this Visa?
I do remember that same requirement popping up before I came to Perugia way back in 2007 for my own Study Abroad Program. I didn't really pay much attention to it then. I found that so many stores were just as happy to take MasterCard as they do Visa. I'm pretty sure that they charge them the same rates. It may be trickier to use an American Express card, however. But if you really want to play it safe, my advice to you is to bring plenty of euro. Unfortunately, I don't really get out much any more, let alone to Spain, as I still have 23 years remaining on my prison term.
I just received confirmation for an exciting Study Abroad Program in France for the fall semester. I am kind of nervous, though. I have never even been away from home before, let alone ever having a roommate. I currently attend a commuter's college. Any advice as to how I can best coexist with complete strangers?
Wow, this one really hit close to home for me. When I first came here to Perugia way back in 2007, I was thrust into an uncomfortable roommate situation. Four girls living under one roof with only two bathrooms. Everyone knew my business and tended to be judgmental. One girl in particular would even criticize my choice of men. It really got so bad after a while that some days I just felt like killing her. I would probably advise you to keep all sharp objects out of your apartment and everything should work out fine.
I just found out that my university approved my request for a Study Abroad Program in Germany. Yeah! I am so excited. I am a Philosophy major and fluency in German is a must. I am really nervous about whether a semester-long program will be enough time to achieve the required level of fluency. Any advice from someone who seems to have mastered a second language so well?
Congratulations on your acceptance into this program. When I decided to come to Perugia way back in 2007, my Italian was pretty weak. I had a really hard time ordering a cup of coffee, let alone answering questions asked to me in Italian during an all-night interrogation. When I look back, I realize just how much my Italian has improved, I can't believe how far it's come. Wow. My vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds, filled with Italian translations of such common phrases as "cellmate," "solitary confinement," "prison break," and "lights out." Who would have thought?
Guess what? I'm coming to Perugia. I have just been awarded a Study Abroad scholarship at your former alma mater and will be spending my summer studying Italian. Although I am quite excited over the prospect of living in a foreign country for three months, I am worried about meeting guys. You see, I am very shy. Will I have a problem communicating with them if I don't know Italian yet? Do Italian men like wall flowers? You seem like you have no trouble with the opposite sex. Any pointers? Sincerely,
That is so exciting that you are coming to Italy. When I first got to Perugia way back in 2007, I was also worried about meeting guys -- for about the first three days, or was it just the first two days? I can't remember. Anyway, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I am sure that having flowers on your wall is really no big deal. Most guys shouldn't mind that at all, unless they have hay fever and are allergic to flowers, in which case, that might be a problem.
Oh, and I see that you are from my old stomping grounds -- the Pacific Northwest, and since you're heading to Perugia, can I ask a favor of you? My mom bakes the best chocolate cake in the world, and I really miss it so much. She said she would bake one for me, and I was hoping that you wouldn't mind carrying it on the plane with you. Oh, and don't pay too much attention to the airport screeners. They have been particularly paranoid these days, you know, since those crazy guys tried to smuggle explosives in their shoes and underwear. Honestly, I really don't know what this world is coming to. Thanks a bunch!
Amanda Knox is a regular contributor to the kind of tabloid journalism that fills such trashy papers as the National Enquirer and the Star. You can catch a glimpse of her crocodile tears most nights on CNN, or on some other sympathetic cable station. Her face recently made it to the big screen (it wasn't actually her face, but the face of the actress, Hayden Pannetiere, playing Amanda) in a made-for-TV movie that aired on Lifetime back in February. When she is not pleading for her innocence in Italian court, Amanda enjoys making Italian license plates for FIAT, and working in her prison's commissary.