My study abroad adventure is coming to an end and I can’t help but reflect on these past four months. I took a leap of faith to travel so far away from home, like most students studying abroad, and I have been rewarded in so many remarkable ways. The people and culture I have met along the way are what have shaped my time and have opened my eyes to how small our world really is and how learning from other people can give you new ideas and global understanding.
My favorite memories from Italy have been the conversations over the dinner table. I studied the Italian language while in Florence and have tried my best to understand and participate in conversations speaking in Italian. Recently, I had dinner with twenty Italian friends my age and although some knew a little English, the dinner conversation was mostly spoken in Italian. Half the time I had to concentrate hard on what was being spoken about, but at the same time, I felt welcomed and comfortable in the setting. I didn’t need to know exact words to be able to laugh at jokes and enjoy the company around me. I will remember this dinner I had forever because it showed me people can have different backgrounds and speak different languages but can join in community to have fun together and be friends!
Another amazing part about studying abroad, has been the opportunity to travel so easily. One weekend I would be riding an ATV in Morocco and the next weekend I was skiing the Matterhorn in Switzerland. It has been fun to stay in hostels where my bunkmates are from different parts of the world. I have been able to befriend so many incredible people from all over the world. It is always fun to compare what music we listen to, how we say certain words, or the different environments we live in. Traveling the world and talking with people of different nationalities has taught me more than any textbook ever could.
I will always remember the friends I have made abroad. They have shown me that we are all the same human beings despite where we were born. The simplest moments of eating new foods with other study abroad students and people from around the world have brought me the most joy. I have been astonished at the places I have seen. Now, I have the urge to keep traveling and to live in new places whether it is abroad or in the U.S. I know that I will always have a home in Florence to come back to and I’m a phone call away from talking with the beautiful people I have met along the way.
Written by: Chiara, Fall 2022 Florence student from Point Loma Nazarene University