Reminiscing Italy

Being abroad, more specifically in Europe, was an experience that has definitely left a larger impact on me than expected. Just within the six weeks I spent in Sorrento, I found myself quickly growing to become more comfortable in a new environment. I was immersing myself in a culture that is foreign to me and it was such an amazing feeling. As the weeks progressed, I felt more and more like a local to the town of Sorrento. From the language to the times I would eat dinner, it was all becoming more italian. 

Before my arrival to Italy, I had this image of how everything would be. It was an image inspired by how the amalfi coast is portrayed on social media, a literal dream. I envisioned myself living in a dream. Once I arrived, I could not believe I was in Italy. I had idolized it for so long; it was all so surreal. Furthermore, I imagined myself eating carbs for the most part and of course this was very true. I had pasta for dinner almost every single day and I do not regret it one bit. I also thought highly of the iconic drink native to the amalfi, limoncello. From drinking limoncello, to speaking Italian to the best of my ability to the locals, I was always grateful for the exposure to a new culture. 

Immersing myself in the culture definitely helped create a stronger foundation for my speaking skills in Italian. Although, I did have various encounters where the Italians quickly concluded that I was not a native italian (obviously) and immediately spoke to me in English. I would respond in Italian and they would quickly grow to be shocked and become proud of how hard I tried. Other times, they would just continue to speak to me in only English despite speaking Italian to them. Overall, it was interesting to experience and to live amongst so many cultural differences.

I will attest to the fact that I came back with a completely different mindset. I used to always be stuck in this idea that to succeed and be happy I would need to be in California but after being abroad I saw how happy people were in Europe as well. Not to say I believed that this didn’t exist outside of where I am from, I just now see myself being able to thrive somewhere other than California. It’s almost as if I felt my brain physically expand. It was so rewarding to be able to adapt to a new culture. Towards the end of the program I realized that I could have stayed for so much longer and been just fine. Rather than being stuck on envisioning a life solely in the western part of the world, I now envision myself taking a leap of faith and moving to Europe when I am older. I now feel as if I am meant to live abroad for a period of time in my life. 

For anyone who is even slightly considering studying abroad through this program, do it! It is so worth it. It is worth the exposure to other cultures and ways of life. When abroad, do not be shy to interact with the locals. Although it is a bit nerve-wracking at first, it gets easier. You create friendships you would have never imagined as it allows you to meet new people who are involved in study abroad programs as well. Lastly, always keep an open mind and allow yourself room to grow!