Come with me on the journey before, during, and after traveling to Rome, Italy! I am currently studying abroad here in Rome for the IES Abroad Language & Area Studies program. I am studying Security Risk Analysis at Penn State University and am so grateful to have this opportunity to take my studies abroad! The days leading up to leaving the United States had me in a whirlwind of emotions. I was excited, yet nervous, and I was scared to leave my friends and family (and dogs) for so long. Now that I am here and finally getting settled, I know that this once-in-a-lifetime experience will be well worth all of these emotions.
Packing was a little rough for me considering I am a MAJOR over-packer. Fitting almost all of my wardrobe into a few suitcases was a journey, but it is one I concurred (barely). I originally had two suitcases and a carry-on, but had to switch to three suitcases and a carry-on because both of my suitcases were overweight....whoops! I am a huge list-girl and love to make long, overthoughtful lists for situations like these. I had been making a packing list for a couple of days before I started getting everything together. Making sure to pack things like electrical converters and medication were critical things I just could not forget. I packed extra makeup and hair products that I live by just in case I was unable to obtain them when in Italy.
The airport was fairly smooth sailing besides my baggage ordeal. I met up with my friend Caroline at the Newark airport at 6 p.m. and got a glass of wine before the long plane ride. We immediately got dinner about 45 minutes after we took off, then I slept for a couple of hours and watched a movie. I also brought a book with me but was only able to read it for a little because it ended up being pretty dark on the plane. It was VITAL for me to at least sleep for a bit before I landed at 8 a.m. My parents taught me to fight the sleep from red-eyes until nighttime and not take a nap. The day I landed I decided to get settled in and unpack into my amazing new apartment for the next couple of months. That night we got our first bowl of pasta and I was obsessed immediately.
I cannot wait for the rest of this journey! I am only a week into this adventure and am already in love. I encourage anyone that wants to, even if it may seem intimidating and scary, to embark on this opportunity. If anyone has any questions for me please feel free to reach out on my socials found on the IES Abroad website! Also, feel free to give me any suggestions of things you'd want to see or hear about during my time here.
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<p>My name is Amber Leitham and I am from Pennsylvania State University, currently living out my dream of studying abroad in Rome, Italy. My whole family has gone to Penn State including my father, mother, uncle, and both of my older brothers; so to say I bleed blue is an understatement. I absolutely love my everyday life as a student. I am currently studying Security Risk Analysis under the College of Information Science and Technology. I decided to take most of my general study classes, like art and history, abroad to fully immerse myself in the cultural experience. looking for. I hope to use the skills I learn from studying in a foreign country to further my development in the real world.<br><br>Growing up I was involved in a lot of different activities including eight different clubs in high school, lacrosse, cheerleading, and theater. From being a part of these organizations I have developed the social skills needed to pursue life out of high school. Now being a part of organizations in college like the Gamma Tau Phi Honors Society and the Association of Women in Computer, I hope to educate myself to the fullest academically and socially. This abroad experience will be essential to shaping myself into the successful, young woman I aspire to become.<br><br>Being a college student during the pandemic has been a challenge. I have had to overwork many obstacles to maintain my grades and my health. This Spring semester I have got the chance to study abroad in Rome and am beyond excited to do so. I love to travel and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue my education in a different cultural setting!</p>