A Changed Perspective
Collin, Spring 2024, Rome
April 15, 2024


Taken while on a boat tour of Lake Como, Italy

As I sit down to write this post, my semester abroad is coming to a close, and I cannot help but look back at all the new experiences I’ve had while in Rome. It can be described in no other manner than a journey, one that has not only changed my outlook but has also shaped my aspirations. The people, cultures, and places I’ve witnessed and interacted with have pushed me to not only want to see all the world offers but also seek out new and exciting things wherever possible.

Taken while at a game in San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy

I started my time abroad somewhat in my comfort zone. I had traveled to Italy before and knew the language when I got here. I was familiar with the culture and the people and felt for the most part in a second home. However, as I spent more and more time here, traveling to different countries and seeing new cultures, something amazing occurred. My previous experience with Italy allowed me to form a deeper connection here than would have ever been possible had I not already been exposed to Italian culture. However, by having another country away from my own that I felt comfortable in, I became that much more appreciative and aware of the differences in perspectives that each new country I traveled to possessed.

Taken while overlooking Lisbon, Portugal

Moreover, I can say without a doubt that having these experiences presented me with a new commitment, a commitment to seeing all that I can and living life to the fullest. I’ve found that especially in today’s culture that prioritizes work, it’s easy to become content with narrowing yourself into your career path – forgetting to take time for yourself. The stark contrast between juggling internship, academics, and future aspirations with this semester abroad has been incredible. All the minute stresses that are too often present in our daily lives seem small and insignificant when compared to the grandiosity of life that is only possible through traveling. While work and goals will always be important, this trip has taught me to take time to enjoy all that life and the world has to offer.

The London skyscape taken from the London Bridge

In short, since I have been abroad I’ve visited architectural marvels, and historical sights, and taken time to simply immerse myself in the daily lives of those around me. I have visited new cities and met incredible people from all over the world who have been kind enough to share their unique and interesting cultures. Being a part of these things has helped me grow in ways I would have never thought about. As I reflect once more on my time abroad, I can’t help but feel that this has been nothing more than the beginning for a lifetime pledge of discovery.

Taken while visiting Pompeii, Italy

Written by: Collin, Spring 2024 Rome student from University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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