What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
I will never forget my day trip to Venice! Everything about the city was breathtaking! I loved walking around and observing the architecture. My friends and I even got to ride in a gondola! It was amazing to float down the water and observe the houses around us—talk about a dream come true!
What does your study abroad experience mean to you?
To me, my study abroad experience means courage and growth. I had never traveled before, so it took courage to get on the plane alone and leave the comforts of home behind. I grew tremendously by being willing to learn and adapt to the cultural differences around me. It was the best feeling to step outside of my comfort zone and be shaped by this experience!
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Before you go, I recommend taking the time to learn some basic words and phrases in your host city’s language. It is always beneficial to learn a new language, and by knowing some words/phrases it will help you feel confident in your host city.
Stay connected with your friends and family back home. Figure out your time zone difference and set up a time each day to call or FaceTime them. It helps to establish this routine and they will enjoy hearing about your new experiences.
Also, remember that not everything is going to be perfect, and that’s ok! You will be faced with new situations and will have to adapt to your surroundings. This is part of the experience and it is very rewarding to challenge yourself!
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
Each night, I tried to go out on my balcony and watch the sunset. I loved sitting outside in the warm air and listening to the sounds below. Sometimes I would listen to music as I watched. Seeing the city transform from day to night made me feel at home. The best thing about it is that I saw a different view of Milan every time!
Ashley was a summer 2019 Milan student from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.