Give us an intro!
Emma: Emma Morgan is a senior, double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Psychology at the University of Rochester in upstate/western New York. Her semester in Milan, Italy was her first time going somewhere outside of the United States (not including Canada.) Emma wants to return to Milan and the rest of Europe on many trips, soon to come!
Why did you pick this program?
Emma: I picked Milan, Italy because I'm half Italian. I had always wanted to visit Italy (in fact, my sister and I had been planning a trip to Italy for about four years and we just never had a chance to follow through on the trip.) Even in high school, I knew that I wanted to visit Italy to see where my mom's family was from and to learn about the culture.
The choice of Milan itself was somewhat less planned. I knew Milan was a city and I love cities, so I thought it sounded good. Little did I know, Milan would be the perfect choice for me! The city is a combination of old Italian architecture with modern, city-living (much like life in New York City.) I loved being able to walk around a busy city and still experience the beautiful architecture from Italy's past.
Additionally, I knew that Milan was located fairly centrally in Europe, which would make it easy for me to travel elsewhere during my semester abroad. Milan is a great choice for someone who wants to be in a city that makes traveling easy, and that has hints from Italy's past.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Emma: I say if you have the means and the time, you should do it! There's never going to be a better time than college to live abroad, so if your university and your budget allow for it, definitely go. Living abroad will change your perspective on so many things in your daily life, even after you return to the U.S.
People say, over and over again, that a semester abroad is a life-changing experience - there's a reason everyone says that. A semester abroad will give you a whole new outlook on so many things in your life and you'll get to really branch out and experience new adventures!
What was hardest part about going abroad?
Emma: For me, the hardest part about going abroad was saying goodbye to my family for four and a half months. My semester abroad was really my first time being away from home, so it was pretty difficult to imagine not being able to see my parents or my sister whenever I wanted.
The first few weeks in Milan were definitely an adjustment, but it was worth it! I pushed myself to make new friends and to really connect with my homestay family. My homestay family became like a second family to me, which would not have happened had I not worked through my homesickness to make the best of my time in Milan.
Going abroad helped push me to become even more independent than I already was and it showed me that I can do anything I set my mind to.
What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions, future path?
Emma: Studying abroad in Italy changes how you go about your daily life. I'm from the East Coast of the U.S., so I'm used to a fairly fast-paced life.
In Italy though, everyone is laid back. They just let things happen and they "go with the flow." That went completely against everything I had been used to for nearly my entire life.
I had to completely change my expectations of how quickly things would get done; that may not sound like a big adjustment, but for me, it was.