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Midwestern College Boy from Southwest does Northern Italy

January 9, 2018

My name is Bo Shimmin. I am 21 years old and am a junior studying Vocal Performance at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. I live in Tucson, Arizona with my dad and sister and am currently soaking up as much sun as I can, before enduring the Italian winter... I am a virgo, a dog lover, I am addicted to spicy foods especially Hot Cheetos (which I heard are impossible to find in Europe...), I'm a huge fan of Lana Del Rey, I am half Native American/Half White, and I love travelling to new places. I am excited to share more about myself as we progress into my semester abroad in Milan! 

I am an IDEA correspondent and will be discussing how my identity as a student of color affects my experience while studying abroad. As I mentioned above, I am half Native American and half "white." I am a quarter Acoma and a quarter San Felipe. Both tribes are in New Mexico and I actually spent the first half of my life living on and near the reservation with my mom and sister. The white side of my identity originates from the Isle of Man between Great Britain and Ireland. Before I leave, I wonder whether I will meet any Native students or students of color like myself. I often am asked if I am of Mexican or Spanish descent. Will I get questions like that? I will be curious to see how I will be perceived by locals in terms of my heritage. I wonder if anyone will know any history regarding American Indian heritage and culture. I know that I am going in with an open mind, and I hope that Italy will accept me with open arms. 

In exactly 4 days, I will be boarding my flight to London, and then to Milan. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't nervous. I am sitting at home staring at the bags I have yet to pack - YIKES - and I keep thinking about how much I will miss my friends, the comfort of my dorm, and the familiarity that I have with the campus. On the other end of the spectrum, I can't stop thinking about so many great things that are marked in my planner already and will begin to experience as soon as land in Italy. My best piece of advice is to pack lightly, I only have one check-in bag, a carry-on and a backpack. I will be picking up lots of small items (blankets, more clothes, toiletry essentials) while I'm in Milan, and it gives me an excuse to get out and explore all while doing a little shopping.  Plus, I will be travelling to downtown Milan on their metro system so I don't want to be lugging around huge pieces of luggage. I know it will make things way easier for me in the end. 

Here's just a couple of things I already have planned: 

Sonya Yoncheva Recital at La Scala in February!!! She is currently singing three lead roles at the Metropolitan Opera House here in the states.

Lana Del Rey Concert at the Mediolanum Forum in April. I AM MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE!

A few weekend trips to: Barcelona, Paris and Berlin sprinkled throughout the semester.

Spring break is also at the end of March/beginning of April and I look forward to exploring then as well. 

Lastly, I will be participating in the Milan Music Program: Tradition and Innovation, and I can't wait to make beautiful music in the country where opera originates from. I am sharing a performance of me singing an English aria from the opera Street Scene. I will be sharing other videos throughout the course of the semester, and I believe I will be giving a recital at the end of the semester, so look out for posts involving my recital repertoire and tips from my Italian coaches and teachers. Grazie! A presto, Milano! 

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