THE SCHEDULE: With endless planning, lots of patience and persevering through a long winter quarter, in less than twenty four hours I will be beginning my spring quarter experience of studying abroad in my favorite place, Italy. Through the Italian Studies department at the University of Washington, my program will facilitate the acceleration of my Italian language skills, immersion into the culture and further increase my knowledge of Italy. The first five weeks of my program, I will be staying in the heart of Rome to study and explore one of the world’s greatest capitals. Once the half-way point comes around, I will then travel south to the region of Calabria and be housed with a local family in the small town of Rogliano to integrate within the social and cultural life of an authentic Italian community. The classes I will be taking include my third quarter of Italian language, the Italian cultural experience involving exposure to literary texts and cinema, and artistic itineraries that include visits to monuments, archeological sites, museums and cultural attractions in and around Rome and Rogliano.
THE SUITCASE: In a dream world, all I would need for traveling is a ticket and a destination. Unfortunately not all dreams turn into reality and the dreaded packing of one’s suitcase lands at the top of the pre-departure checklist. Put together changing seasons, three months and just being a girl, and packing may easily be called a disaster waiting to happen. With ‘functionality’ on my left shoulder and ‘fashion’ on my right, I think the two have compromised and have happily made their home in only ONE suitcase. Let’s hear a round of applause!
THE SOUL: Many people that go abroad mention the “culture shock” associated with traveling to a country for the first time and while this will not be my first time in Italy or abroad, this experience will be something extremely different for me. Not having the comfort of my home and regular routine to rely on, the security of what I am used to will be replaced with the unknown and begin to face the uncertainty of the future as the opportunity to put adventure into life. With the kaleidoscope of nervous-excited-scared-anxious-eager-million-of-other-emotions running around inside of me, I have not had any time to really process what is happening or to actually get ready for my trip. And I think that’s a good thing. There are many things I want to do and see, but heading off without any expectations only leaves me with an open mind and attitude to wherever my adventures may take me.
Despite any expectations, there are a few things that I hope to get from this trip. First off, I hope to completely immerse myself in the Italian culture and for my language skills to flourish greatly. The undying passion and captivation I have for Italy is one I hope only continues to grow and multiply. Also, I hope to learn and increase my knowledge. Not just in my studies, but in my perspectives and understanding. I want to have incomparable experiences that challenge me, surprise me and change me. Most importantly, I hope to not miss out on anything and to live in the moment. I hope to be rid of the pressure of time and stress I constantly find myself under and in turn, discover a new sense of peace and appreciation for the world around me. I want to be wholeheartedly present and truthfully experience all God has intended for me.
So from your tourist soon to be native,
Arrivederci America e arrivo Italia!