I am writing this blogpost on a very unusual day. Leap day. It doesn’t occur often, but it feels like everyone could use an extra day. I used this rare day to reflect on my experience so far in this program at Temple Rome and my time living in another country on the other side of the world. Although I had always been interested in pursuing a semester abroad, it is still a leap of faith to commit to the unknown.
When I realized I wanted to make Rome my home for the spring, I was excited to live right by so many famous monuments and enjoy authentic Italian food. I was intrigued by the culture, the people and the language. But I don’t really speak Italian and I didn’t really know who else would be in the program. There were a lot of uncertainties as it got closer to leaving. It was exciting applying for Temple Rome, but as the departure date neared I was starting to let the unknowns swim around my head. Weeks before I was to go, I got really sick. Doctors told me I wouldn’t be better in time; I had to consider taking the semester off and stay in central PA when all my friends would be gone. After all this planning, excitement and nerves I refused to accept the idea that I wouldn’t be going to Rome. The uncertainties that originally gave me anxiety became my motivation to take that leap of faith. And here I am now, writing to whoever is reading about my time in Rome, healthy and happy.
Don’t let the unknowns and questions hold you back if you are considering doing study abroad. No, flying alone isn’t scary. Yes, you’ll make friends. No, you won’t miss out on everything back home because you will be creating your own memories. Yes, take that leap and put yourself outside of your comfort zone. It is the best way to learn about yourself and the world around you.
Now that the semester is half over, I am shocked by how quickly the time has gone by. I have to remember to try to slow down, cherish more moments because the days all blur together in a beautiful frenzy. Study abroad has allowed me many fun chances that I would never have if I remained in the States. The independence to accomplish my own objectives, the inspiration to explore all the mysteries, the dream to return to a foreign city and live there longer than a few short weeks.
Studying abroad in Rome has so far been a thrilling experience and allowed me to unearth my drives and curiosities. I know how determined I can be and how lucky I am, from being able to join the program late to traveling around Europe, it motivates me to keep striving forward in this program and in my self-growth.
And then it finally happened. I have felt full on qualms of homesickness, something I was unsure would happen initially with so much exploring and excitement. As much as I miss my parents, my friends, my dog, my bed, so on, I remind myself of one inevitable truth: this study abroad program will be done in what will later feel like a blink of an eye. I will be back home with those that I have missed, and I will think back on this amazing opportunity I encountered and I will miss it ever so dearly. My goal is to remain in each and every moment and treasure it, continue to take that leap into the unknown.