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Meeting the World: Gianluca Albano Silva

Photo Credit: Gianluca Albano Silva

The Tiger is proud to debut this series in conjunction with the Department of Global Engagement which will serve to introduce members of Clemson’s international community to the Clemson family. We have a very exciting lineup of exchange students, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty to share their stories with their Clemson family. 
Visiting Clemson University this semester from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland is Gianluca Albano Silva, aged 20, studying biomedical sciences. Although Albano Silva, half-Peruvian and half-Italian, is working on his bachelor’s degree in Scotland, his family currently calls Canada home. Albano Silva loves to immerse himself in whichever culture he may find himself in, speaking four languages: Spanish, Italian, English and French.
“It seemed like an interesting place to go in the United States, as it is a great university with top-level teaching for all my courses,” said Albano Silva on why he chose Clemson. “It was superb to find that Clemson included all the courses I would need to take back in Scotland, which is rare for biomedical sciences.”
‘Home’ is a wide concept to Albano Silva, as he has lived and studied on nearly every continent. However, he never gets tired of exploring and living in new places.
“My favorite place to visit would be anywhere I can appreciate the richness of the country’s people and culture,” said Albano Silva.
Part of appreciating the richness of a country is appreciating the food. Albano Silva makes a point to eat like the locals when he visits a new place.
“I like going to different restaurants and exploring ‘typical’ food here like Chipotle,” he said. But when he’s not exploring the food in downtown Clemson, he cooks. “I love to cook for my friends and enjoy a meal together, learning from each other’s cooking, but also appreciating a fresh and cultural dish from each of our countries, every week.”
Albano Silva has been to the United States before on a holiday, but this is the first time he has gotten to stay for an extended period – and he’s enjoying life as an American.
“I can see how life is when living here… I’ve loved going to Waffle House and Cook Out, sitting in courtside seats for the basketball game days, and the games in the intervals (halftime), the camera picking out random people dancing for the jumbotron,” said Albano Silva. One thing he’ll miss out on a typical Clemson football experience in Death Valley, but as the spring sports schedules approach he’s looking forward to other American favorites. “It’s a shame I cannot see a typical American football match, but I’m sure baseball will be awesome. I can’t seem to get used to referring to our football as your soccer,” he said
In addition to the soccer-football confusion, Albano Silva was surprised to find that the recycling here in the United States is not to the same standard as that of many European countries. “We recycle nearly everything in Europe. I understand [in the U.S.] if you want to recycle you have to drop it off yourself in a special location, which may make it onerous on those who want to recycle. In my opinion, recycling should rather be encouraged, promoted and facilitated,” said Albano Silva.
Despite the challenges associated with attending school to a new country, there have been quite a few things that Albano Silva has enjoyed about college in the states. For one, he likes the pride students have about the University.
“Everyone, like every single person, has some sort of Clemson merch, be it clothing, car stickers, or even bottles,” said Albano Silva.
Albano Silva was also gracious enough to share some stories and traditions from his background including some fascinating New Year’s Eve festivities. “In Peru, we celebrate the New Year’s arrival by counting down the 12 seconds before midnight while eating 12 grapes, one every second. After this we have to walk around the block with a suitcase to have good travels the year to come. We do all this whilst wearing our yellow underwear, which brings luck and prosperity for the new year,” said Albano Silva. 
Following the completion of his bachelor’s degree, Albano Silva plans to complete his master’s degree in a country that he has not yet lived or studied in. “I would like to travel. There are so many countries, cultures, food dishes, languages, clothing fabrics and much more that I just want to appreciate and explore around the world since it’s all so fascinating,” he said 
In closing, we asked Albano Silva if he would share a phrase from his native language and explain its meaning in English. “Non Mollare Mai, is the name of a hymn of an Italian Football team Lazio. The phrase is repeated in the chorus and means, ‘never let go,’ or, ‘don’t ever give up,’ which refers to the fans chanting for the football players to not give up when times get tough in their match. It brings sweet memories as it reminds me of my childhood with my very Italian dad being happy and patriotic for his football team whenever a match would play on TV. I also appreciate its message in general to not give up and keep fighting for your dreams,” he said.

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