Everything to Gain
Darrah, Rome, Fall 2013
January 9, 2014

The three and a half months I spent abroad ended up being the best time of my life. I learned so much by meeting people from all over the world and adjusting to a new culture. The first major challenge that I had was dealing with anxiety. I was just so nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. The second challenge was adjusting to Italian culture and learning their language. The last major challenge was being away from friends and family for such a long time, especially during the holidays.

After getting over the fact that I was in a different world basically I started to have fun. I met amazing people in my classes and embraced the Italian lifestyle. Of course it was difficult at first, but having other people go through the same pain and embarrassment with me made it better. My first embarrassing situation was when I pronounced my street name Luciano as Lusiano. In Italian the “ci” makes the same sound as the English “chi” and the Italian “chi” makes the English “k” sound. It took me awhile to get the hang of that totally new way of saying words. I really had an adventure the first week in Rome. My roommates and I got caught in an out of the blue torrential down pour and missed our tour of campus because we got lost. Getting lost was kind of a theme for the first couple of weeks. Nevertheless there was some fun in all of our struggles.

The best part about being abroad was seeing things that I had only dreamed I could see. I traveled so much and saw so many wonderful and historic things. Traveling also gave me an opportunity to see how other Europeans live, like the French and Germans. I actually did so much traveling and just overall fun to the point where I almost forgot that I was there for school! I guess Europe just has that effect.

I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. Going abroad changed my life for the better. I am an American who sadly couldn’t see past an American lifestyle. Although I knew that there were other countries out there I never fully embraced that there are other people who live a different lifestyle than me. I matured while abroad and became extremely independent. Making this decision will be one of the greatest and most unforgettable decisions who will ever make! I had an open mind and now I regret nothing! Cannot wait to do it again!

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.