I’m writing this in one of my favorite cafes in Rome. The bartender drew a cartoon in my cappuccino foam, and I am eating a beautiful apple pastry that looks like a rose. No one could accuse of me of doing anything of short of “taking it all in.”
I leave the day after tomorrow, and I have already teared up several times. I haven’t even packed yet, because that would mean accepting that I have to go soon.
My best friends on this program, Mary and Michelle, are sitting across from me right now. I should probably just say two of my best friends (in life), Mary and Michelle, are across from me. They’re busy writing final papers, also trying to ignore how we all have to say goodbye to each other so soon.
We’ve been talking about what it means to leave this beautiful, amazing city, and what was so different about our lives here. We saw glimpses into worlds so different from our own. We were exposed to so much that just cannot be accessed in a classroom.
I have learned so much. Small things, like how to pack the perfect amount of clothes for a weekend. But also how to take full advantage of new surroundings, and how to make true friends quickly. Thanks to Italian culture, I finally figured out how to relax without feeling guilty. I can speak (very) basic Italian, too. I really hope I can take all these things home with me. I’m going to try to travel around the United States more, and I’ll even explore my home state of Indiana. There is no reason to stop making the most out of every life experience just because I am going home.
If you are reading this, and considering studying abroad, please go ahead and take the plunge. For four months, you feel you get a break from your responsibilities at home. But in the meantime, you become so much richer. It isn’t always easy, of course. But the homesickness became manageable, and you learn from every meal you manage to burn.
If you’re reading this because you’re about to go abroad, I am so excited for you. It’s going to be amazing. I don’t believe in the saying “it’s the best time of your life,” because that’s a lot of unfair pressure. But if you have half the time that I did, your study abroad experience will be a very singular, special period in your life. I know that I will always look back on my time in Rome with so much joy.
*Note: Mary, Michelle and I are pictured in the feature photo in Prague.
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<p>Born and raised in Indiana. Very likely to ask, “if you could eat anything right now, what would it be?” at the wrong times. Join me as I write my way through Italy!</p>