When I decided to study abroad I knew it would be a life changing experience. In what ways it would change my life I wasn’t quite sure about yet, especially without experiencing it. I was still in America and had a while before I went abroad. I applied to study abroad in the Summer of 2017 and left for Italy in January 2018. From the moment I applied everyone I spoke to always mentioned how life changing it would be, although everyone has a different experience; I knew I would have to create my story on my own.
Since being in Italy, I have done things I only thought I could dream about in such a short amount of time. I have traveled to Spain, France, Hungary, and Austria all while traveling throughout Italy, as well. I can say that it has opened my eyes to the world. There is so much world to see and I am excited I was able to have that journey now. I was also fortunate enough to have my boyfriend, mom, sister and cousin visit and share the journey with me. Many people from home like to stay where they are comfortable and that is not me. Seeing Europe is only the beginning and I hope that I can continue to grow and travel to see different continents the older that I get. There are so many cultures and people to learn about; It is amazing that we all share the same world. I have always loved to travel, but this is my first experience traveling outside of North America. I now constantly think about where the next place will be that I will be traveling to and bringing my family along with me. I hope that I will always be able to travel and see many different places, especially when I have a family of my own. Studying abroad helped open my eyes to that realization.
Along with that, I also found some things surprising. I knew there would be many great times and great memories created while studying abroad. However, I learned more than just that. When you talk to people before coming they mention how everything will be great and that is all. Which gave me the image that every moment abroad would be joyful and happy. That is not the case for everyone. I will never forget the feeling of emotion rushing over me the moment I got to Italy and my first few weeks abroad, both good and bad. It was a feeling I have never felt in my life and made me wonder was I doing the right thing. With the rush of emotion I remember the first thing I wanted to do was call my mom and hear her voice which turned into me crying on the phone as soon as she picked up. She asked me what was wrong and I truly didn’t have a clear answer. I now sit and think of that moment in a much better place and believe it was a mix of being so far away from home alone, seeing no one that looked like me anywhere, and jet lag, which is not a cute thing.
I am happy to say that the feeling passed, and it is a totally normal way to feel. I am now in a different space abroad and nine weeks later I am comfortable with my surroundings. I have met so many nice people from all around the world. I have even met people that look like me and come from places like me which gives me a sense of comfort, which to me is important in my journey. I can’t believe I only have seven weeks left in Italy which I know will fly by, another thing everyone tells you. I must say that they are right when it comes to that. I am excited to be able to say that I was brave enough to tackle this not always easy journey and change my life forever.
Authored By: Brittany Allen