Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad

“Children” of Italy

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One might think that they are about to read an article about the young culture in Italy, but one must not take the title “Children of Italy” at face-value. Throughout my experiences in Italy thus far, I continually find illustrations of an analogy made in class. This analogy compared philosophical thinking to the perspective of a new born infant entering the world (which would be an unfamiliar place). The infant may wander about and explore its surroundings while being completely subjective. While we, as new study abroad students, curiously wander in the same way, but with subjectivity due to our past experiences. How can we justify this analogy and how can we use philosophical thinking to preserve the authenticity that the rich Italian culture has to offer us?

Throughout my experiences not just in Italy, but in life, I find that each event that occurs adds a certain skill or a certain bit of knowledge to my tool kit. But in order to be a part of these events, one must constantly question, wonder about, observe, and explore surroundings, behaviors, and unfamiliarities just as a baby will walk up to an object they have never seen before and put it in their mouth or throw it. This analogous situation can be related to foreigners visiting a country. In a way, we as study abroad students are “children of Italy.” Just as the newborn, we must not be subjective in order to be completely immersed in this unfamiliar place. We are seeing everything with fresh eyes and are constantly questioning our own behavior due to our new surroundings. Generally, we are approaching Italian culture including etiquette, cuisine, and language just as the newborn infant is approaching an unfamiliar item; with curious and questioning minds, but also with the motivation to pick the item up, observe it, and explore it in a way that will ultimately open up our minds to the aspects of the world that have been unknown to us in the past.

One advantage that we as “children of Italy” have over newborns is comparison. As a foreigner, I am constantly comparing everything that I see in Italy to my homeland. This can be helpful but also destructive. I am now attempting to reject comparisons to the United States because it does not fully allow me to experience the authenticity of this country. Authenticity is something that does not exist to most Americans because as Americans, we are used to preconceived views of certain cuisines and cultures. If we were to experience Italian culture authentically, we would have to erase these preconceptions to experience the full potential and take in the very essence of the food and the behavior. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to reject these conceptions due to our familiarities with certain foods which we relate to names and titles. For example, we know what pizza “should” taste like because someone in America decided to prepare it a certain way. In this way, and in some senses, subjective experience destroys true authenticity.

Americanization is a powerful development within society that challenges what we can understand as being truly authentic. Once we enter a different country, we begin to try to understand the differences between the actual culture in that place and the American version of this culture. This realization can be stressful and frustrating to us because it is uncomfortable and unsettling. When we are not used to our surroundings this stress will persist until we accept the reality that it is how people live every day. It is hard to remove ourselves from the idea that we are not in America anymore. I have heard the phrase “I can’t believe I’m here” countless times since I have been around other Americans in Italy. This disbelief is related to the fact that it is difficult for us to understand why a certain culture is different from our own. It is hard for one to believe that an entire population has spent their entire life span living a different way than our population has. We must move past this to understand that cultures are not based off of a comparison to our own. Italian culture should be analyzed for what it is, not what it is not. Although we have the tendency to analyze our own culture in this way, I believe that all cultures should be analyzed without comparison. We must not let these comparisons distract us from the fact that certain cultures are not built off of one model, but were simply invented through time, place, and development of a specific identity.

As a child, new to Italy, I will continue to question and explore everything in addition to attempting to reject preconceptions that have been instilled in my American mind since birth. As my new experiences persist, I will attempt to resist familiarities to truly live through the native Italians around me. By immersing myself in a distinct culture, I will continuously add to my palette of tastes and tools, but also will open up curiosities and questions that have never been explored before.

I AMsterdam!

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Hello everyone,

This past weekend was a blast in Amsterdam! Unfortunately we waited too long to book a hotel so we made two trips back to Amsterdam; however, it ended up being cheaper in the long run! Our first day to Amsterdam we took two busses to get to Keukenhof for the tulip tour. This tour was absolutely beautiful! I like flowers, but I never thought I would spend hours in flower fields. I was honestly amazed! This is the only time to see and tour the tulips so we were very fortunate to be here at this time!

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Our next adventure was walking through the Red Light district. This was definitely the most emotion I have felt during this trip. I felt sad because most of the women who are working the Red Light district do this involuntary. They are promised professional dance professions, not to work in the Red Light district. Having prior knowledge about the Red Light district was learned from  research, which helped me prepare for this experience.

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This experience gave me more of appreciation for our lives at home that have security, safety, and stability.

The next day we returned to Amsterdam by train. We went to the Heineken experience tour, which was a new experience for me. It almost reminded me of Hershey’s Chocolate tour, but more intricate. The Heineken experience tour took you through the brewing information. After we walked through each step we went on Brew You Ride. You stood up and grabbed on the railing in front of you. The floor moved and shifted as well as different liquid substances squirted out toward us while we were being transformed into beer. After the process was completed we were poured into the bottles and then transported into a box. After being transported into the bottles we were put into a box and transported to a “party”.

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Bubbles were being blown at us during this part of the ride.

Bubbles were being blown at us during this part of the ride.

 

After the Heineken experience tour we went on a canal tour. This tour was very nice because the tour guide pointed out the historical part of Amsterdam. It was very nice to be seated and relaxed during this time. We felt like Amsterdam was almost like New York before going on the canal tour. The appreciation of this city was gained through the history knowledge and learning experiences with the tour. For an example without the long line for the Anne Frank house we would have never found the house without the canal tour. The picture below shows the longest channels of canals in Amsterdam.

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Our last adventure was the Amsterdam Icebar! This tour is for people of all ages. There were small children with their parents for this experience. We walked into a rather large bar in order to gain entrance into the actual icebar. We were given special warm coats and gloves to keep us warm during our time there. There were sculptures and objects that were frozen into the actual icebar. Music was played and disco balls shined throughout. It was a nice way to end the evening and our time in Amsterdam!

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Our last adventure of the weekend was going to the highest peak of the Netherlands and being in three countries at one time. The three countries included the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. There are borders that separate the countries from one another, but the structures and buildings allow you to observe the differences.

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Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for my next adventure to Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent!

Thank you again,

Corby Myers

Music: Universal Yet Unfamiliar

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Perugia, Italy is a culturally rich utopia. I spotted this street performer while walking around the shops in the main Piazza and could not help but be intrigued. After listening to his beautiful music on this hammered dulcimer, I threw a Euro in his basket and walked off to reflect on what I had just seen. I reflected on the incredible reality of where I was and how the contrasts in my surroundings reminded me of how strikingly different this country is to my homeland. Although this culture shock can be grueling and frustrating at times, I have learned to appreciate it through an open and wondrous mind.

A new home away from home!

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Hello everyone,

 

WOW! I cannot explain for exciting this experience has been for me for the last three days! On Monday we had a tour of center city, called Vrijthof. This is where the river is that has many boats traveling to and from different locations around other countries. During the tour we were also introduced to the train station, restaurants, student life, and observed a carnival that was occurring this week. During the evening we returned back to Vrijthof for dinner and to explore. Most of the shops close around 6 pm so we did not get a chance to shop yet, but we did have interaction with the locals, had dinner, and rode one ride at the carnival. Most of the locals here are very nice! So it is very nice interacting with them. We had dinner at Catanaba, an Italian restaurant. I had vegetarian lasagna that was delicious! The food here is very fresh and I think it actually tastes better and has more flavor then in the states. However, while eating out our server took a very long time to take away our dishes and give us our check. This is typical. We are usually in a rush for time, so it was nice to relax and not be rushed. Next, we went to Pinky’s which is a waffle and gelato shop! I had mango gelato that very refreshing! We decided to venture off to the carnival and experience an European rollercoaster. The ride we went on reminded me of the Claw at Hershey Park. It was probably the best 3 Euro I ever spent so far!

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The next day we had a history tour of the city. I learned so much from the infrastructure to wealth of the city. I did not realize how valuable limestone is here that costs around 500 Euro per cubic centimeter. Another interesting fact that I learned was that each piece of a window square used to taxed. Last, I learned how the city was built up from it’s own history. Any hill that was created either was created on top of a cemetery or other structures since existence. Each middle path in the cobblestone was designed for horses and now bikes. Last, each corner was built for protection and for the military participants to catch their breath from running.

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My next adventure was to an American War cemetery. This adventure was extremely touching. This cemetery honors those who fought from 1944 to 1945. There is a wall in honor of those whose bodies have not been found. If they have been found they are honored with marker by their name. Each person who has been identified are honored through a burrier sight.

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My last adventure on Tuesday was to the city of Jezuitenberg to tour the caves. The caves are made from limestone and the bottom floors are made from limestone and remains from sea creatures. Many students would come every Wednesday, due to the cleaning staff cleaning the schools. These students were not artists and many of these sculptures were made within a couple days up to a couple of weeks. The pictures below resembles Romeo and Juliet, Egyptians, and Cinderella. The last picture is artwork that resembles the landing on the moon!

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Today was my first day of class! This class is an intercultural communication course. The professor is from Belgium and is very nice! I think I will learn a lot from her and she will challenge us to think from different perspectives as well as become aware of other cultures and norms. Our weekend starts tomorrow! We are in the process of planning to see the tulips, go on a canal tour, and explore Amsterdam! Needless to say I am enjoying my time in the Netherlands!

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Corby Myers

 

 

 

 

My 24-Hour Finding of the European Culture

After being in Maastricht for more than 24 hours, I have learned a lot about the European culture. For some of this it would be qualified as hard core stereotyping, but this is what I’ve noticed so far.

  1. You have to pay to use the restrooms in public, no matter if you are a paying customer or not. Which blows my mind!
  2. Everyone demonstrates their own fashion. Men, women and children all look nice. I really enjoy to seeing the men in nice suits with some nice shoes on. I really hope America adopts this norm soon! I idea of even getting groceries in athletic clothes is unheard of. Although the idea of working out in a whole other story
  3. America’s idea of working out is not even remotely close to Europe’s mental model. Today we just walked around the city for a tour and we were almost at 9 miles!! That is seriously so crazy, but it makes sense that Europeans don’t really “go to the gym” just biking and walking around is plenty of exercise for one day! After today, I don’t even know if I had the energy to do a 30 minute workout.
  4. Watch out for bikes. The idea of “yield to pedestrians” does not exist in Europe. You have to pay attention because they fly down the streets and will knock you over in a heartbeat. We were the typical American’s trying to cross the road, swaying back and forth like can we make it or should we wait… It will be interesting to see how running will be!
  5. Cobble streets are beautiful. The scenery around the city is beautiful. Check out my Facebook to keep up with my pictures and weekend adventures.DSCN0020
  6. The houses/apartment are really tiny but so adorable. Just from walking around, we have seen a bunch of different “houses”. They are super tiny like a total of three rooms and they are all just lined up right next to each other. But I think this goes to show the European lifestyle. They want quality not quantity. Also from walking around and just window shopping today, I noticed how the price was a little more expensive but the quality was 3 times better than US clothes. I will be looking more into how Marketing differs in the US and Europe later in the month once I do a little more shopping and learn a little bit more about European business.
  7. Finding a hostel to travel to different locations is SOOO difficult when there is a holiday. With a four day weekend coming up, we are most likely traveling to Cologne, Germany. But with a two-day holiday coming up right before the weekend, it feels like everyone in Europe is traveling.
  8. Everyone in Europe speaks at least 2, if not 3, languages. Just from being in the culture for a short amount of time, it is easy to see how Americans are not as culturally educated as other cultures. I believe it is due to the fact that Europe, is full of different cultures and countries in such a small area so Europeans are almost forced to learn different languages in order to effectively function.
  9. I’m almost certain, no one in Maastricht actually works. From walking around the city all day we got to see more of the people that live here. It seemed like everyone was out and about and no one actually had to work. Couples were hand in hand walking around or sitting down eating at a local café. There were also a decent amount of people just walking around enjoying the beautiful weather.
  10. No one is in a rush. In the states, everyone is rushing around to be somewhere. But here in Maastricht I’ve noticed people are very free spirited and have the motto of “when I get there, I will get there.”  To me this is unbelievable, I hate being late so I feel like every couple minutes I need to be checking my phone to make sure I’m on time. For example, they gave us an HOUR AND A HALF for lunch. We couldn’t believe it, it school you would get 30 minutes to eat lunch and catch up with friends. This is one aspect of the culture that I could probably get used to.

DSCN0022 Today, we took a small tour around Maastricht and tried to learn common knowledge of how to get around the city. It is soooo hard to navigate around cobble stone streets which are not based on a block system. It is almost like being in a “fun house” at a carnival. Most of the time, our group just tries to direct ourselves based on what looks familiar. We hope by next week we will be a little more familiar with our surrounding. DSCN0024 We also made a second trip to the market to get a couple more odd and end things that we don’t have. For example, plastic wrap for leftover food and a hand towel to dry off dishes. Tonight, we decided to sit down and try to book everything for this weekend. However this could be classified as a disaster. Our plan is to go see the Tulip Field’s on Thursday since it’s their last week in bloom. Then go to Cologne Germany from Friday-Sunday and then possible go to Dusseldorf, Germany Sunday before returning to school. When trying to book the tickets for the tulip fields, you needed a Dutch bank account to book train tickers online, and we found an awesome deal for a train, bus and ticket into the garden. So we need to go to the train station to get a gift card to use online. Not only did we have problems with booking a train ticket, we also cannot find a reasonable hostel for this weekend in Germany. Without a hostel booked/planned we have nowhere to stay within the city. So we are hoping to find something for the 3 nights that we will be there. On the bright side, these are the only challenges that we have ran into. So far I’ve had a blast and cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store. I absolutely love the European culture and looking at the architecture around the city. DSCN0015

Ladies and gentlemen please fasten your seatbelts… It is offically take off time!

Hello everyone,

Tomorrow is the day I leave for the Netherlands! I will be leaving my house around noon time to arrive at the airport. I have mixed feelings! I am excited for this new adventure, but nervous at the same time! This will be my first international flight! I am currently in the process of printing my boarding pass and packing! My flight is currently suppose to take off at 6:20 p.m. in Philadelphia.

Our plans are to have a safe arrival at the Brussels Airport in Belgium. We will arrive around 8:00 a.m. There will be a bus there in the morning to pick us up and transport us to the Guesthouse in Maastricht! The bus ride is take about  two hours long!

Once we arrive, we are to unpack and go on a tour around the University and city! The next two days we will have student orientation.  Wednesday we will have our first class with another professor that has been hired from the University of Maastricht! We are told this class will be a lecture hall, which will be a lot bigger then a typical LVC classroom. We will have class in the morning and in the afternoon until 3 p.m.

After our first class our plans are to explore the Netherlands for the next couple of days and over the weekend! I am excited to see the fields of tulips! Currently, my neighbor is there in the Netherlands and just sent me pictures of the tulips! They are absolutely beautiful! The following week our LVC class begins and our intercultural communication class resumes. We will be going to Brussels for the court case of Bosco that was mentioned in my previous post! After our class adventure we are either going to Bruges or going to Italy. Next, we will have another week of classes and we are planning to visit Germany. The following week will be our last week! So we are planning on attending the Dutch VS USA soccer game during our last Friday in the Netherlands! Needless to say we are excited!!!

 

Thank you for reading,

 

Corby Myers

 

 

 

 

Wait I can only pack 50 lbs?!

Only 10 days until I board a plane and start a new adventure in my life.  Thoughts are scrambling through my head, like how am I going to fit my life for 5 weeks in one suit?! Clothes, shoes and other odds and ends are going to be fitted into a suitcase like a can of sardines. Hopefully, I won’t find it too difficult to narrow all of my belongings down to 50 lbs. But stepping back from the little details about the trip to The Netherlands, I think about how truly blessed I am to be given this opportunity for a high-impact experience.

So in preparing for this trip, I am only really worried about one thing… packing enough clothes. If you know me, it is easy to say I like fashion. The thought of only packing one suitcase that is 50 lbs of clothes for 5 weeks is frightening. I am going to have to accept that I will be wearing the same outfit more than once while abroad. Although this sounds a little shallow, it is my main concern right now. I have a feeling once I’m over there and engulfed in the culture that I won’t even think twice about wearing the same clothes multiple times.

I spent most of my free time, which isn’t very much due to finals week, showering across Pinterest and the Internet. Looking for both tourist and “hidden” places in Europe, I am memorized by the simplistic beauty of each photo.  From the colorful houses in Italy to the hilltops of Greece, I couldn’t and still cannot truly decide where I want to do all of my traveling.

My friend and teammate, Brittany Fleisher, and I are staying for an extra week to do even more traveling. It is a little intimidating thinking about staying in hostel for a week. But then I think about the all of the once in the life experience and unforgettable memories I am going to have so it eases most of my worries!

Overall I’m most worried about the difficulty of the classes. I am so excited to travel, but I’m worried that I will forget that I am also there to take two classes. So it’s easy to say that I’m most excited just to travel and see as much as possible. With only five weeks, we aren’t going to be able to see everything in Europe. So we are going to have to sit down before we leave and prioritize what we really want to see. Brittany and I talked to the study aboard office and they gave us a lot of good tips and ideas of where to travel and how to get to these different places. I would recommend this step to anyone who is planning to go aboard.

Only 10 days till I take off from Philadelphia and start my adventure aboard with only 50 lbs along with me!!

Keep an eye out for my blogs once I’m over in The beautiful Netherlands!

 

Best Laid Plans

The weather outside was frightful, but the fire was less delightful and more calming. After all, what did we have to worry about? We had pockets full of fudge, a television full of movies, and backpacks full of food. The hostel’s couches were pleasantly spongy, and I sank into one immediately after returning from our walk around Queenstown. Soon after, Anchorman was playing on the television, and we had settled down to enjoy this college kid’s classic. My phone buzzed serenely with notifications, the hostel’s free wifi breathing life into a machine that had been dormant for days before. Perhaps we hadn’t experienced the highlights of our visit, but after more than a week of cavorting through Cairns, exploring the daylights out of any nature unfortunate enough to cross our path, it was pleasant to have a moment to sit and appreciate the little joys of life.

Granted, “sit and appreciate the little joys of life” was only blocked for about an hour on our itinerary, and shortly, we returned to our task of panicking about our hiking trip (already in progress).

Stand by for Sherpa acquisition.

Stand by for Sherpa acquisition.

I rounded up my two traveling companions, bringing them to my room and drawing their attention to the orderly array of food on the floor, bags of noodles and boxes of energy bars lined up in rows that would make a drill instructor blush. These were our rations for the hike, I explained. We would be splitting the food between the three of us, to even the load. I cast my eyes over the gear of the other two LVC students. One had a green hiking backpack, small, but respectable. The other had a school backpack, with what may have been a beaten up homework assignment peeking out of the top.

It was going to be a long night.

I rummaged through my bag, tossing aside dirty clothing to reveal the occasional useful item for surviving in the icy mountains. Were my companions well equipped for the hike? (they weren’t)

Rain poncho? Blank stares.
Cooking utensils? Blank stares.
A sleeping bag? I might as well have been waving a gold plated hiking stick at them.

At least they packed water bottles.

Refills not included.

Refills not included.

We took a trip to town to buy emergency ponchos and matches and called it a night. At this point, I was secretly wondering how much food I could carry in the event that one of them caught hypothermia and had to be left behind.

The next day, we found out that the snow that would have certainly caused discomfort at best and hospitalization at worse had prevented the trip entirely. Our trip had been canceled, leaving us adrift with a small stash of food. We were so down about the whole ordeal that we decided to jump into a canyon*.

*while attached to a rope

*while attached to a rope

It wasn’t just about the thrill of jumping for me. We had chosen the Nevis Bungy jump, which, according to any number of helpful brochures, was the highest in New Zealand, with 8.5 seconds of free fall. And personally, I really wanted to find out what I would think about in that vital 8.5 seconds. Would my life flash before my eyes? Would I have an epiphany, revealing some great truth about me? What, other than a stray bird, could possibly pass through my head during that fall?

Not a lot, as it turns out. It was less about thinking and more about feeling. The wind was the first thing that I felt, howling as I passed through it at a speed normally reserved for falling rocks. I also felt some kind of fear, not for my life, but for my GoPro, clenched as tightly in my hand as possible. The further I fell, the more my cognitive function returned to me, previously suspended to allow me to make the jump in the first place. I wondered how cold the stream water was and how close I would come to it.

Yeah, it was expensive, but I paid for an experience that I may never get another chance to have. And that’s what my trip is all about, really. The big things and the small things, coming together to make one huge amorphous thing that you can’t quite identify, but you’re glad to have in your life.

I could probably do without this particular thing, though.

I could probably do without this particular thing, though.

This concludes the Spring (actually Autumn) break post-a-thon. I’ll update again as soon as I find something neat to do.

Here Comes the Sun

Sometimes, I think that if I got off of the bus and started towards the nearest mountain range, I wouldn’t get 10 feet before running into some kind of painted on background. The landscape stretches on so far, it almost seems unreal.
Slightly more painfully real is the sun, free to slow roast us without the encumbrance of any silly ozone layer.

this jerk right here

this jerk right here

To make matters worse, it turns out that buying sunscreen in this country is the financial equivalent of buying gas in our country, in that it’s incredibly expensive and never seems to last as long as you’d like.

These were the lessons that we learned on the first few days at the university, in which we were subjected to a number of grueling endurance exercises euphemistically called “team bonding activities.” They increased our bonds with our new kiwi friends while simultaneously increasing our risk of skin cancer.

It was only at night that we were able to emerge from our holes, covered in a film of sweat, that we were able to roam the night, instilling terror in the general populace and buying all of the coat hangars from the local equivalent of Walmart.

Will the violence never end?

Will the violence never end?

Additionally, we all became acquainted with the residents of our buildings, all fresh out of high school with twinkles in their eyes, devoid of the thousand yard stare commonplace amongst anyone that has ever looked at a tuition bill. Naturally, this being a first year dorm, there was a disproportionate number of guitars to people, which I think is nice because guitars don’t complain when you run naked through the hallway. Still though, it was nice to be in the company of people that were just as unfamiliar with the university as we were.

The first weekend, the university was nice enough to shuttle us all off to a rugby game, which, before you ask, did not involve new Zealand’s famous all blacks.

Their uniforms were only mostly black.

Their uniforms were only mostly black.

That being said, the game proved enjoyable once I managed to figure out the ensuing flurry of violence.

You may be wondering at this point about all of the touristy activities that the kiwis secretly judge us for doing. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of that next time.

Soon.

Soon.

Time to Say, “Arrivederci.”

Well…this is it. In precisely 3 hours I will be getting on a bus to take me to the Rome Fiumicino Airport to head back to the States. Today has been a long day of finals, walking around Perugia, eating Pizza Meditteranea, shopping the Christmas markets, watching the sunset, and going to the Farewell Festa for the very last time in Italy. While these past two weeks I have been going back and forth on feeling sad or happy to go home, tonight at the Farewell Festa the emotions definitely hit me. It was a time for all of us to get together and say goodbye for one last time. We were all holding up pretty well and were having a great time, and of course I was the first one to crack and start crying (thank God for waterproof makeup).

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A night at the Farewell Festa, with Paige and Hannah – and of course Mauro photobombing us in the back!

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Christina and Cat. :)

But as I was crying I didn’t just feel sad that this was coming to an end. I was also crying because of how happy I was that this actually happened – I actually lived in Italy for 4 months, I actually met and made friends with people all across the U.S. and different parts of the world, I actually traveled to 5 European countries and 13 Italian cities, and best of all I have actually learned what it feels like to put yourself out there and be truly independent.

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Putting the sugar on the Pandoro, a traditional Italian Christmas cake. Photo appearance with Antonella, my Contemporary Italy teacher.

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Last pizza at Pizzeria Mediterranea.

All of the adventures I have had and the memories I have made will be impossible to forget. I remember arriving to Italy – all of us meeting each other for the first time, totally exhausted – and yet being in awe and going through the ‘honeymoon’ stage that everyone experiences when they first arrive to a new city. In the second week, the homesickness kicked in and things got more difficult – there were definitely times of frustration throughout semester. Between the late trains, the strikes, papers and midterms, presentations, or the sketchy people, there were times where I felt so sure that I wanted to go home and coming to Italy was a mistake. However, the weekends of traveling with friends, the great classes with the great teachers, and just allowing myself to realize that I’m living in Europe changed that. I became so thankful for the opportunity I was given. And right when I feel like I finally got the hang of things and have adjusted pretty well, it is time to leave.

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Venezia – what a beautiful city.

If any of you reading this are questioning whether or not you want to study abroad – don’t question it. Just do it. I questioned myself SO much throughout my college years, going back and forth of whether or not I was going to go, even putting it off until my senior year thinking that I was going to eventually choose not to go. Hell, before coming here, I’d barely been outside of the state of Pennsylvania and had never ever flown. But despite this, something in me told me I had to do this. In high school, when we would do “icebreakers” in the beginning of the year to get to know one another, a question that always came up was, “What is a dream you have for the future?” My reply was ALWAYS live in Italy for 6 months. At the time, I always speculated that that was always going to be a dream – one that I wouldn’t truly push to come true because I was scared. Yes, I didn’t live in Italy for quite 6 months, but I think 4 months is damn near close enough. This semester was the scariest, yet most incredible and rewarding experience of my entire life. It has made me become a better person and has changed my life forever. Now I know there is so much more of the world to see than little ole Pennsylvania – so once I arrive back in the States within the next 24 hours, I intend on getting started on planning the next adventure. ;)

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Last sunset in Perugia.

Arrivederci Perugia. Ti ringrazio for the best experience that I will never forget.

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Last photo by Piazza Italia.