That’s it. It’s over. The biggest adventure of my life has come to a close. In the blink of an eye, it seems, I went to Italy and came back to Indiana. As I drive through town, I realize that nothing here has changed. My hometown is just as I’d left it which makes me feel as though my European experience was all just a dream. How is it possible that last week, I could have taken a 5 minute train ride to the Colosseum and now I’m back in the land of the ordinary and the mundane?
On the eve before my last day in Rome, I went out to dinner with my co-workers where they exposed me to some traditional Roman dishes. During the meal, I mentioned to them how sad I would be when I had to leave Italy the next day. One of my co-workers looked at me curiously and proceeded to tell me not to be sad. He told me, that there’s no reason to be sad. He asked me if I had enjoyed my time here and I told him yes. He asked me if I had seen a lot of cool things in Italy and I said yes. He asked me if I had eaten good food in Italy and I said “of course!” So he told me that I should not be sad since I had had a fantastic time that will always live with me. The time I spent abroad may have been limited, but the memories and emotions from my trip are eternal. I thanked him for his perspective and we continued our meal.
As I sit at home and reflect on the importance of this study abroad program in my life, I begin to realize that it’s importance is invaluable. Sure, when I was getting ready for this trip, the financial aspects and monetary preparations for the program were stressing me out, but after having completed this journey I can see that the experience I’ve gained is priceless. Every penny, ounce of stress, and hard work I put towards this trip was worth the professional, academic, and personal growth that I’ve had. The feats I’ve accomplished are more than I ever could have dreamed of and the wisdom I’ve gained will impact my life for years to come. I decided to blog my experiences because I wanted to reach other students in an effort to persuade them to study abroad as well. If anyone reading this is considering studying abroad, I implore you to consider it wholeheartedly and truly understand the profound impact that a program like this can have on your life. The IU Office of Overseas study is a fantastic resource that can help you travel to some amazing places and see some incredible things. I am so grateful for the chance I’ve had to live in Italy this summer and I will always remember this adventure fondly and the monumental impact it had on my life.