At the end of August 2009, I was a shy girl who embarked on my most life changing experience. I hopped on an Alitalia plane to study abroad in Milan without knowing a single person. Upon my arrival to my modern loft, I was greeted by my program coordinator, Jonathan Pantani on a Vespa. Just seeing a Vespa already stamped highlight on the trip!
Soon into my study abroad, all the students became well acquainted with one another, as we were all eager to find travel buddies and friends to explore all Milan has to offer with. I immediately grew this desire to see all I could and get the most out of my study abroad. With that being said, I stopped being a shy girl, cracked out of my shell, and made some of my best friends to this day from literally all over the United States.
From days to walking around Milano after classes to see the Duomo, shop 'til I drop, then going apperitivo in the evening and enjoying gelato and crepes afterwards, followed by going to the discotecas to dance the night away, to just walking along the canal to admire all the beautiful people that Milan attracts, I was quickly in love with a city I had recently met.
My courses in Milan were a real treat. The school ground of Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti is full of beautiful architecture and interesting student body/professors. Being able to order a cappuccino out of a vending machine was a delightful experience in itself! I learned a lot about the Italian lifestyle just by getting to know my professors and their class lessons. They are much more easy going than American professors, yet still expect the work to be done on time and up to high standards.
We had the luxury of only having classes Monday through Thursday to be able to travel around Europe. This was my favorite part of studying abroad. Although I took classes in Milan, I wouldn't say I studied abroad only there. I was able to travel to seventeen different cities in four months, and I learned so much in each and every city. I was able to study all over Europe. From northern and southern Italian cities, to London to Barcelona to Prague, I gained to much cultural insight and appreciation for other lifestyles.
I think about my experiences abroad every single day and each day I smile because of it. I am a different and better person today because of those four months. I end this review with a quote by James Baldwin, "I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself".