Personally, I have made so many new friends that I would have never even met had I not gone on this program. While I have a whole new group of American friends, who I see all the time now, but also I have made some international friends (thank goodness for Facebook). My time abroad, as cliché as it sounds, made me grow as a person. You cannot move to a country across the world for five months, without your parents or anyone you know, and come back the same person.
I learned how to be an independent adult and how to be responsible. I learned how to accept a whole different culture, and learn how to adapt to that culture. I miss the Italian way of life so much now because it taught me how to slow down a little and enjoy the short life that we have. Italians value family and the time spent with family. My friends and I would cook big meals together and actually spend the time eating and enjoying each other’s company, rather than the usual American way of eating on the run.
After being in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and being surrounded by great works of art, I came back to school this fall and decided to add Art History as my second major. While I had planned on attending law school beginning in the fall of 2012, I decided that I wanted to take a year off and try to get a job in Florence (hopefully) or in a museum, since my love for art as grown dramatically. I am now extremely interested in pursuing a career in art law and have been looking at law schools with programs to fit my interest. Florence will always hold a special place in my heart and I miss it every day.
My friends at home say that I have “study abroad over-share syndrome”, which may be true, but when you had some of the greatest experiences while abroad, it’s hard not to talk about it.