If I could sum up my experience in one phrase, Veni Vidi Amavi comes to mind. I came, I saw, I loved. It’s been 10 months since I studied in Italy, and I know one thing for sure: I miss Italy! Studying abroad in Italy changed my life in ways I couldn’t fathom. I learned a lot about myself, things I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t tried. It didn’t start off great; actually, it was the worst beginning. When I arrived, my luggage didn’t arrive with me. It was bad enough that I had gotten there late but now, it seems I had another obstacle to face. I didn’t let my luggage delay stop me. Actually, I laughed about it when I got home from the trip. I knew that I was going to make the most out of my time in Italy, and I did.
Rome—a city stuck between the past and the present—left its mark on me. Its one thing to look at pictures, and dream of what its like to be there; its another thing to actually say that you saw the Pantheon, and explored the Roman Forums. Rome wasn’t what I had imagined it to be…no, it was actually far better than I’d hoped. I wonder how could the city function between the old and the new. It something you have to experience to understand. I was falling in love, and I had only been there for a week. I fell in love with the language, and the music it brought to my ears every time I heard it spoken. I fell in love with the history, and the culture it preserved in the process. And, most of all, I fell in love with the people, and how proud they were of their country. I loved everything about Rome, and I appreciated it more knowing how hard I had to work to get there.
Florence—the city of the Renaissance—is where my heart stayed. I came away from the city with a renewed appreciation for its place in Italian history. Great Italian artists shaped the way people today view Italian Renaissance art, and Florence is at the center of it all. I enjoyed my time at the Uffizi, marveling at the magnificent works of art housed within its walls. I wondered around the city in my free time, not wanting to miss any minute of it. I got lost in the city’s beautiful, and ended up a vintage stationary store. I admired the architecture, and embraced the city as if I had lived there my entire life. oh how I dream of returning to Florence…I truly love the place!
As I take a step back, and reflect on my experiences, I ask myself this one question: How has my study abroad experience fueled my drive for travel? I always knew I wanted to travel since I traveled abroad for the first time at age 14. I knew this was the life I wanted for myself. Italy inspired a new passion in me to pursue this dream, and make it my reality. I learned how to cope with the difficulties I may encounter, especially traveling solo. I never gave up, even when things got tough. And that is the biggest take-away of all. I needed to know I would be able to handle anything because I wanted to live abroad. Italy helped me realize that I was ready to make that transition but I needed to be patience. Italy opened the door for me…and, I’m ready to walk through.