Kristina – Italy
While traveling upon the road of life, we encounter experiences, which leave our insides yearning for more. But it is not until these experiences are over, do we realize how important and meaningful they are. Studying abroad in Florence, Italy was this experience for me. Some people study abroad to learn a new language, become immersed in a new culture, meet new people or to further their studies. I studied abroad for all of those reasons and more. Having attended high school and college in neighboring towns in Rhode Island, I felt this would be my chance to get away and “explore” life beyond the boarders of South County. I chose Italy because despite my red hair and freckles, I am 100% Italian and discovering where my family came from was important. Also being a textile marketing and design major, it only made sense to study in a city colorfully painted with history, art, fashion and great food. After I received my acceptance letter into the Lorenzo de’Medici School, I knew I was on my way.Looking back, my experience was everything I could have imagined it to be and more. While abroad, I was able to visit friends who were also studying abroad in London and Spain, and also had the chance to visit cities such as Dublin, Amsterdam, and Paris.
In Italy I traveled to Capri, Poistano, Sorrento, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa and Rome. My favorite trip was when my roommate and I rented a car and drove through Sicily, visiting the town where my ancestors were from. Having Florence have been my home for four months, I often took the beautiful and rare sights around me for granted. Every day I would walk by the Duomo, cross the Ponte Vecchio, stroll through Piazza Reppublica and never really appreciate their true beauty until I came home. Seeing such old and amazing landmarks made me really understand how new America really is.
Many people are hesitant to study abroad because they are afraid that they will miss out on something huge. I came back only to realize that everything was exactly how I left it. If I did not study abroad, I would have missed out on the semester of a lifetime. Some people will miss America and our customs (I did at first), while some may not. Regardless, you will come to appreciate what is new and foreign. Being abroad changes who you are, how you perceive others and especially how you view life. It also forces you to be a better packer-how else could you fit everything you need into 2 suitcases for 5 months?! But no matter how much money I spent, how many mosquito bites I got or how much I missed my family and friends, studying abroad is one of the most magical and rewarding experiences I have ever encountered. Having been abroad and given this opportunity, I am forever grateful.