The People You Meet Abroad

Bri Ferracciolo
July 7, 2022

Throughout my time abroad, I have tried to put myself out of my comfort zone and talk to new people. I'm generally pretty introverted, so striking up a conversation with a stranger or making new friends doesn't generally come easily to me. However, in a new country all by myself, I felt it would be important to foster some sense of community. I also thought it would be important to talk to new people and hear their life stories or their perspectives on things. Spoiler alert: it has been. Though I've only been here for almost 5 weeks now, I can say with some certainty that the people I've met have completely changed my life. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. Some of these people I will almost definitely never cross paths with again, but I hope that our interaction impacted them as positively as it impacted me. 

The Australian Filmmakers: I met them on the beach in Positano. They were on the beach lounges next to me, and one of them told me I should really go into the water since it felt so amazing. I took his advice, and he was definitely right. We got to talking, and he told me that he and the two people with him were working on a TV show on a cruise trip, and they had stopped in Naples for the day and it was their day off. They thought they'd spend the day in Positano, and I can assure you they made the right decision. It was really cool for me to meet people who worked in TV and Film Production, because that is what I'm studying at Indiana University. I asked them my questions about the industry and they happily answered. The man who initially talked to me had worked on The Bachelor, Married at First Sight, and other various shows that I'd seen (although I'm pretty sure he did the Australian version, which I didn't watch). In the time we shared, I learnt about their families and their careers, and they were extremely kind. They were all in their 40s (they told me this, I promise I'm not assuming), and they conversed with me like I was a friend, a colleague, or an equal. It was really nice and it made my experience on the beach of Positano all the more pleasant. 

The Solo Travelers: Soon after I parted ways with the Australian filmmakers, I met another Australian in my hostel in Positano. She'd just arrived and was bunking in the same room as me. I just happened to stop by the room right when we got there, and I'm so glad that I did. I forced myself to start talking to her and asking her questions (I can be pretty bad at this!) and we completely clicked. I found out she was from a suburb in Australia, she was 25 and working in IT sales, and she'd taken 6 weeks off to go solo traveling around Europe. We ended up spending the entire evening together - we got dressed up and had dinner and drinks that night, and we talked about the differences between people our age in America vs. Australia. One major difference we noted was that many Australians don't go to college, or Uni as they would call it.  They go if they want to go into something more specialized, but it's more common for them to start working after high school. It's also very common for them to take time off and go to travel.  My friend told me that they'll hold your job for you if you want to go on a sabbatical to travel, and they have extensive PTO and maternity leave. Another micro difference is that she said she almost never talks to people over text, and that all of her casual conversations happen on Instagram DMs. For us in America, it's usually texting or Snapchat, so I found that super interesting. There were some other things too—like boys on dating apps posing with dead deer that they had shot—that was very shocking to her, though it's a common occurrence in the USA.  I was so happy to meet Paige (the girl in question), and she made me feel like I was with a friend, which was relieving after a treacherous solo journey (read my blog about travel mishaps for that backstory).  While we were getting drinks, we met three Italian boys from Positano. Antonio, Claudio, and Giueseppe. It sounds stereotypical, but it's true. Antonio was a chef at a cute little restaraunt he invited us to, and we did end up having a delicious breakfast there.

On the train from Positano to the airport, I met another solo female traveler, named Torey. She was from Texas, so a lot closer to home. She'd actually gone to college in the state next to mine. She had been backpacking by herself to major European cities. She (TMI) gave me a tampon because I had gotten caught without one. Our conversation was pretty short, but I got to hear about her adventures by herself. Both of these girls traveling solo and making friends and memories along the way really inspired me.  As a young woman it can be really intimidating to travel internationally alone. These girls were out there doing it, embracing travel and new cities all by themselves. Since meeting them I've traveled solo to Croatia, and I'm about to travel to Barcelona... I feel as though if they could do it, so can I. 

The Fearful Flyer: This interaction was interesting, to say the least. About halfway into my flight sitting next to him, a man whose name I can't remember started speaking to me in the Bulgarian language. I was confused, but he switched quickly to English and explained that it was freaking him out that I was looking out the window.  He continued to explain that he was very afraid of heights, and so on airplanes he drinks alcohol to help him calm down.  He claimed that he never drank, except for on airplanes, because he was so afraid of flying.  I was unable to relate but I tried to assure him that there was nothing to be afraid of. He asked me some questions about myself, and then I learned that he worked in the "gambling business". I wasn't entirely sure what he meant by that but I didn't ask. That was when I noticed the Gucci bag he had with him, though.  He said that he flies all over the world and takes 4 planes a week. So even though he "never drinks" except for on planes, that meant he drinks about four times a week. I found his lifestyle and his fears to be intriguing, but I didn't ask a whole lot of questions, honestly because I was really tired and wanted to continue looking out the window. He was very friendly—and he reintroduced himself to me after he woke up from a nap and said he couldn't remember my name because he was too drunk the first time we talked. Lol. 

I have quite a few more stories of people that I've met, but I'll leave you with just these for now. Perhaps I will reflect on more of the people I've met at the end of my experience. It's been flying by, and I can't believe my program ends in only two weeks! I have one last European adventure this weekend, and then I'm going to soak up as much London as I possibly can.

Bri Ferracciolo

<p>Hey! My name is Bri Ferracciolo, and I'm a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying Media (specifically Digital Production). I'm a lifestyle creator on youtube, instagram, and tiktok sharing my college experience and daily life. I love all things wellness &amp; mental health, skincare, productivity, and of course travel. Outside of college &amp; content, i'm obsessed with dogs and reality tv, plus I'm a foodie!</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
Indiana University
Carmel, IN
Film Studies
Media/Media Studies
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