Felicia is a SAI Ambassador who was selected to intern at SAI’s headquarters in Sonoma County, California for the summer. Below she talks about her “SAI Moment”.
The “aha” moment of study abroad is different for everyone, but we all experience it. It’s different for everyone, and comes at a unique time for everyone too. I remember mine vividly. I knew Rome was my home for the next 9 months and I wasn’t about to waste a second of that precious time. I fell in love instantly. What I didn’t realize was the incredible friendships that I would gain.
The moment that is cemented into my memories lies in the very first weekend excursion with SAI to the region of Umbria, Italy. We experienced the beautiful hill towns in the verdant region full of olive groves, sunflower fields, and emerald pastures. We stayed in a historic local farm with a history dating back to the 1300s, participated in a chocolate workshop, toured the Frassasi caves, and traveled to the beautiful medieval town of Assisi. The weekend ended with a visit to the amazing Marmore Falls built by the ancient Romans.
What made this weekend unforgettable were the friendships that I made. I met one of my best friends. Since studying abroad together we have returned to the “Motherland,” have had weekend visits, and she was even a bridesmaid in my wedding. Another SAI alum even drove 6 hours to share in my Big Day. You don’t meet people like that everyday and it’s the amazing experiences we’ve shared through SAI that drives this friendship.
You can find the beauty in any moment and my study abroad experience with SAI definitely provided countless memories to get me through the worst of times- yes, even my senior thesis. Studying abroad is be a defining moment in your education that will change your life! Nothing will be quite the same after you have studied abroad.
I spent 9 months, two semesters in Rome, Italy and made lasting friendships, traveled the continent (11countries) and upon coming home I couldn’t even stay away that long, I’m already planning a trip back to Rome in December and I’m doing everything in my power to go back for a more permanent duration. My experience in international education has influenced the direction I want to move forward in my life and that is an experience that everybody should be able to experience.