Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. No matter where you go, how long you’re gone, if you’re surrounded by friends or on your own. For me, it felt like the definition of beautiful chaos. I had never been so challenged and been so happy about taking on new obstacles every day. I’ve been back now for a few weeks and have had some time to really reflect on my semester in Italy. It’s hard to put into words what it was like to be somewhere totally new and have it become your home, to meet new people and have them become your temporary family of four months and to get used to a life that is polar opposite from the one you were so used to in America. I can say that I feel like a whole new person, all of the change in such a short amount of time made me feel more open to new experiences, and see the benefits of taking time to really learn about yourself. In my opinion, if you are thinking about studying abroad I would challenge you to think about going by yourself, you learn so much about yourself and the world by being out in it. It was hands down the most beneficial part of my experience. I was pushed out of my comfort zone making all new friends when things weren’t going my way I had to learn to problem solve on my own without my parents or friends. Like I mentioned a little earlier, it’s in no way an easy experience, my morals and values were challenged, there were times when I would catch myself wondering why I decided to go 5,000 miles away, but it was so incredibly worth it because it was also the most amazing four months of my life.
I thought I’d also talk about some parts of studying abroad that I’ve been asked about by pretty much everyone I’ve talked to so far. My favorite place, besides Milan, that I visited was Haarlem, Netherlands. It was a small town outside of Amsterdam, it was so quaint, the people were incredibly welcoming and willing to talk to us even though they knew we were tourists. The architecture of each building was so unique and gorgeous, it was the most picturesque little old Holland town. Besides the Netherlands, I loved going to Rome, all of the history in the city was incredible. I think the most important thing that we did in Rome was walk everywhere. We didn’t use any public transportation and we got to see so much more of the actual city instead of just hitting all of the major tourist attractions. One thing that I took away from this experience was to roll with the punches, this experience wasn’t anything like I dreamed it would be, it was one hundred times more challenging but one billion times more beautiful and exciting than I could have ever imagined. And that’s what life is supposed to be, you think you have everything planned out and it turns out to be something totally different. I learned and grew from the experiences that challenged me most and fell in love with the life I was living which was full of adventure.
I will also say that coming home from this trip has been the hardest part of this whole experience. I fell in love with the city of Milan and all of the people I spent every day with. Even though I’ve missed my family and friends immensely. A part of me will always be in Milan and I’ll forever want to go back.
If you are thinking about studying abroad, don’t hesitate, it will be the best decision you ever make. I wouldn’t change a single moment of my experience.
Last modified: February 23, 2018