The Italian Journey
Major: Elementary Professional Education through the College of Education and Human Development
By: Jennifer Rohn
So it all ended, in the blink of an eye, I was on a plane, on my way back home to the United States. Now that I am home, I realize what a life changing experience I had while studying abroad. Since it has been a couple weeks, I have had the opportunity to adjust and reflect on my experience.
First, I believe that I chose the best program that I could for me personally. The class that I took was so far out of my comfort zone it eventually made me a well-rounded person. I took an art class and with being an Elementary Education major I was very unsure of how it would go. We would go to class Monday-Thursday at around 9 am, pick up a croissant and a cappuccino on our walk to class, and we would break for lunch at around 12 pm. If you wanted to finish a project you could come back in the afternoon, but it was not required. This class style, being so laid back, really fit my personality. Eventually, the girls in the group and I came up with the term or “being breezy” which basically means going with the flow and being positive when things don’t always go as planned. I actually created some amazing pieces of art while in class, which amazed me.
Second, I definitely packed way too much. Before I left for Italy, one of my friends advised me to pack and then take half of my clothes out and twice the money. Well, I should have listened because on the plane ride back, my checked bag was too heavy and my carry on was too big… If you are going to Italy in the summer, do not pack any warm clothing. I did not wear any of the jackets I brought and I only wore jeans once in the evening. I wore a lot of sundresses and shorts with tank tops. I am actually proud of myself that I fit all of my souvenirs in my luggage with all of my clothes and shoes for the plane ride home. Hence the over weight and too big luggage. Another tip is to bring comfortable shoes; I mostly wore sandals or flip-flops and slides. Most women in Italy have some sort of wedge or platform on their shoe so if you want to fit in, bring shoes with height.
Third, I already miss Italy so much. It is such a different lifestyle; I have noticed we are pretty spoiled here in the U.S. I miss that everything was walking distance and you did not have to get in a car to go to the supermarket. I miss all of the freshly baked croissants and sandwich shops where they slice the meat right in from of you. Everything was fresh food, in America everything is packaged or pumped with artificial flavoring. I already want to go back to Italy.
My Italian Journey has helped me to grow up and mature. It has taught me that not everything will go as planned, you might miss your train or get sick one day, but eventually everything will work itself out. This trip has also taught me to accept everyone the way that they are and to go with the flow. I was on a trip with eight other girls for three weeks, some might say that is a recipe for disaster, but thankfully we all got along great. Everyone brought different personalities to the group and offered diverse strengths and weaknesses. This group made the trip that much more memorable. Finally, this trip has taught me that I am so blessed to have had an opportunity like this. Not many people make it out of their state to study, let alone across the globe. I had the opportunity to experience an entirely different way of life. This made me appreciate everything we have in the USA and all of the opportunities WMU has to offer.