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Entering November: The Halfway Point

November 4, 2018

Time here has flown by and we’re already in November.   There are only six weeks left in the program, which is almost inconceivable!  I haven’t even finished with midterms, and we’re already on the way to finals.  I knew that this program would be over in the blink of an eye, but it never truly hits you how quickly it goes until you’re staring down the finish line.

I tend to anticipate my emotions.  By that, I mean that I am already beginning to feel the sadness I know I will feel once my semester abroad is actually over.  By choosing a program outside of my home university, I came to IES Abroad Milano not knowing anyone else.  This helped me to make this experience entirely my own: I met lots of new people and made some great new friends.  I’ve grown a lot as an individual by not having anything or anyone familiar to rely on.  My language skills have improved, and I find myself adopting some Italian mannerisms. I even embraced the Italian custom of putting more effort into dressing and not wearing sweatpants outside of the house (this is a big change for me: if you know me, you know how much I love my sweatpants)!  All of this is positive, and exciting!  But there’s another side to all the change and growth: the friends I’ve made here and I will all be returning to different places once the semester ends, and I will certainly be returning to my home university a different person than I was when I left it.

I am excited to go home; at various points during my semester abroad I’ve felt homesick for my family and friends, my pets, and the familiarity of the city I live in.  But I’ve also adapted to this new city.  I have grown accustomed to a more Italian style of living, and it feels like I’m gearing up to leave just as I’ve truly settled in.

If you also tend to anticipate your emotions, my advice to you (and to myself) is this: make sure you are not so focused on the sadness that comes with leaving that you forget to appreciate the here and now of the rest of the semester.  I hope to embrace my remaining time abroad to the fullest: I want to explore Milano again during these last couple weeks and do the things I haven’t gotten to do yet, like climb to the top of the Duomo or visit the Fondazione Prada.  I plan to find some of the best cafes, parks, and restaurants that I haven't gotten to explore yet.  I want to travel to the places I haven’t yet, because now is the time to do it.  I want to appreciate all the small things that make studying abroad in Milano great! 

Besides, who knows what the other half of the semester will bring?  I'm ready to dive in and continue making this semester incredible.

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