Ciao ragazzi (hi guys)! As cliché as it may sound to say, my study abroad experiences in Florence, Italy has genuinely been an absolutely life changing experience. From gaining the confidence to travel to new places, to learning how to speak a new language, to stepping outside my comfort zone, studying abroad has truly been one of the best decisions I have made to date! Aside from exploring and taking in Florence this semester, I have traveled to so many other incredible places within Italy, including the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Bologna, Rome, Venice, Verona, and so much more! By far, one of my favorite places I have visited was this cute small town within the Tuscany region of Italy called Montepulciano- it was a beautiful hilltop town with delicious food, and some of the nicest people I have ever met! I also took a solo trip to Sicily in October during my school’s fall break, where I had the chance to “find myself” so to speak, gain so much independence and confidence in my abilities to do things on my own, and the opportunity to meet family I had never met before! Outside of Italy, I have also traveled to Paris, Barcelona, and Dublin, and I have one more trip outside of the country to Interlaken, Switzerland planned for this upcoming weekend!
One thing that I have learned from studying abroad that is so valuable is that you only live once, and that life is short, so you should always take every opportunity to experience something new that you can, even if it means making some sacrifices along the way! Do I have days where I miss home or want to hop on the next plane back to the US? Absolutely! But being away from my loved ones is a sacrifice I made to experience so many different places and cultures, and that is completely normal and all apart of the study abroad process; in fact, I’d even argue that it’s somewhat healthy to miss home. Without missing home, you can’t grow or make comparisons between the culture you are so used to, and the new culture you are being immersed in! Plus, whenever you are feeling homesick, your family and friends are only a phone call, video chat, or social media post away- and remember, study abroad only lasts a few months – one year depending on what program you select- think of what a small portion of your life that is in comparison to your whole life that you still have ahead of you! In other words, yes, it can be difficult to be away from loved ones while studying abroad, but it is only temporary and the people that care will always keep in touch, and there’s so many ways to keep everyone at home in the loop, from blogging, social media posts, and online photo albums! Personally, I have been utilizing Google Photos to document my study abroad journey thus far. If you are interested in keeping up to speed with my latest adventures, you can look through my Study Abroad Google Photos album at this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/F53bJVp2JXtAHT21A
So, my advice to you? STUDY ABROAD! You will NOT regret it!
Thanks for reading everyone!
Marisa Bonamassa-Cimino ’18 (December)