Minors: Textile and Apparel Merchandising & Spanish
Program: CIMBA, Paderno del Grappa, Italy
I feel as if traveling is just a part of who I am. I have been fortunate to be able to regularly go on family vacations growing up, giving me a value of experiences in different locations. However, as I found myself in Disney World summer after summer, I always had a sense that there was more out there. I had a craving to experience something I had not before. By the time I began high school, I had created a comprehensive list that totaled eleven pages detailing, in alphabetical order, everywhere I hoped to visit.
For me, study abroad was something that was always part of my plans. I knew that I wanted the opportunity to explore new places and experience new cultures. After traveling to Spain through a foreign exchange program during high school, I knew that I wanted to come back to Europe. I had so much more to see than the handful of cities I had visited in Spain.
Because I have had these plans for so long, studying abroad always seemed so far away. Even when I got into my program, studying in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, I still had many months until I left and a semester of work to focus on. Now that I am sitting here, just days before my departure, this whole trip is starting to become exponentially more real.
While I am so grateful and excited for this opportunity, those feelings are also met with a lot of nerves. This will be my first time traveling on my own. Now, I get lost in my own hometown, and I have lived there for almost my entire life. Not to mention that I fluently speak the language. Getting around on my own in unfamiliar places will definitely be a challenge for me. There are so many unknowns and changes to my daily life that I will have to endure.
Yes, I worry about the unknown a considerable amount and sometimes I question if this experience will be as fun as I had always envisioned it. But at the same time, I think about what I will get out of it. I am going to get to visit the places I have dreamed about, that once seemed so far away. I am going to have to face uncomfortable moments when there is that inevitable language barrier or I get lost or I do not understand the culture fully. Those struggles will make me a more cultured, independent person. I know that I am going to come back to the states as a better person, so for that, what I will gain through studying abroad definitely outweighs the worries I have now.
Next stop Italy!