Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone
Jamie, Florence, Spring 2017
September 19, 2017

About a year ago from today marked the start of my study abroad adventure. This time last year, I officially decided to study abroad at SAI Florence University of Arts. I was filled with mixed emotions such as excitement and apprehension. I heard endless amount of times from family and friends that studying abroad was going to be “the semester of a lifetime.”

My favorite view in the entire city!!

To be totally honest, I was very skeptical of this and questioning my decision to study abroad. I didn’t understand how four months away from my family and my college community was going to be as amazing as everyone was saying. On top of that my head-strong personality was icing on the cake in this situation. Of course I was excited for the travel, endless amount of pasta and culture, but like most people I was very hesitant about leaving what I was familiar with and facing the constant unknown of studying abroad. Obviously, if you couldn’t tell, I gave it a try and took a chance- with the end result of having a “fairytale” semester in my second home, Florence, Italy.

Pasta, pasta, pasta!

You are all probably all thinking “why is this lady rambling to me about her study abroad journey?” I was thinking the same thing when I was in your shoes. But, now knowing what I know I would recommend studying abroad to anyone! The perspective I gained and experiences I had are truly factors that shaped me into the person I am today. I owe that all to my semester in Florence! Let’s be real, where else would it be socially acceptable to have gelato for dinner and wine before noon?

Il Duomo

Now reflecting on my study abroad adventure, I can confidently say that the “chance” I took year from today was the best decision of my life. My one piece of advice for anyone who is considering study abroad is follow in my footsteps and take that “chance”! I know it may be scary at first, but sometimes leaving your comfort zone allows you to achieve what you believed was impossible and expand your horizons. Finally, I wouldn’t say that I am a big risk- taker now, but I can say that my study abroad experience gave me the confidence to challenge myself and leave my comfort zone.

My house-mates and I at one of our favorite spots, Boboli Gardens!

Jamie was a spring 2017 SAI Florence student from Muhlenberg College.

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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.