Sometimes good things need to come to an end and unfortunately studying abroad is one of those things. Reflecting on my time in Milan, I truly had such an amazing experience. My study abroad experience was everything I had hoped for but in some ways nothing like what I was expecting.
To be honest, sitting down and trying to reflect about my experience seems so daunting just because I feel like I experienced so much, learned so many new things about other cultures and myself, and have so many feelings about the whole thing. Trying to capture all of that on paper seems challenging especially because I feel I am still figuring out how to feel about it all as I adjust to being back in the States.
Going abroad allowed me to really get out of my comfort zone and experience a new culture. I already was a fairly independent person before going abroad but my time abroad has definitely helped me become even more independent and assertive. I absolutely loved living in a city. I am from the suburbs of Boston and go to school in more of a suburban part of the Bay so the experience of living in an apartment in a city was one I really enjoyed. I quickly learned my way around Milan and how to navigate public transit. It was so fun living around so many restaurants, places to shop, discos, and museums. Milan is also very well located within Europe and was easy to travel to other countries or other parts of Italy from.
Additionally, I did so much traveling. I was able to see so many cool places. Traveling while abroad is so different from traveling with your family because you typically are planning trips very last minute. I found everything was not as well planned out as well. Running into unexpected challenges while traveling showed me I can be a great problem solver and if I just trust myself in challenging situations I will eventually find a solution. I also learned to be okay doing stuff on my own. At my university, I am practically always with my friends but for me being abroad was a great growth opportunity for me to get better at being by myself. I went on solo trips, got comfortable eating meals out alone, going to do different activities alone, etc. I also did many trips with friends but did them with a variety of different people and not the same group every time.
Leaving Milan was definitely bittersweet but honestly I was so excited to come home. Nearing the end of the program, I was definitely missing my college friends, looking forward to getting back into a routine, and excited to move into my college house. My time in Milan was so amazing and I wouldn’t change anything but I know that it is time for me to be back at home. I felt like for me to continue growing and achieving my goals I needed to come back to the US. Recognizing that the lifestyle I was living while abroad would be completely unsustainable and that I have done what I wanted to do abroad and had that growth experience, has helped me feel okay with the fact that it is time to return. As I sit in my home in suburban Massachusetts, life is feeling a bit boring but I know I have many more adventures to look forward to and that getting back into the school/career grind will be best for getting to my next goals.
Considering how much I wanted to go abroad since I was 13, actually finally having gone abroad is so insane. It is so crazy to think that it is all over but I know I will be returning to Europe soon and will be prioritizing travel in my future. Overall, I am so happy I decided to study abroad and would highly recommend it to anyone considering going.
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Hi! I'm Paige Giordano. I am a junior marketing major at Santa Clara University. I am originally from the Boston area. I am studying abroad in Milan, Italy fall semester of 2023. In my free time, I enjoy working out, reading, cooking, and fashion.