I have been home for a few weeks now, and have had plenty of time to readjust to being home, as well as reflect upon my experiences from study abroad. I think the thing that surprised me the most about my study abroad experience was not only how much I enjoyed it, but also how much I missed Italy after I left. Before I arrived in Italy, I was excited for my upcoming adventures, but I had no idea that I was about to have a life changing experience. I got the opportunity to travel to places that I had never been before, dramatically improved my Italian, and made some good friends along the way.
Two things come to mind regarding things that I wish I had known before I left. The first, is that there would be a lot of mosquitos in Italy. It would have saved me many itchy moments if I had remembered to pack bug spray. The second thing that I wish I had known before I arrived in Italy, is how quickly the time would pass. I expected my six week program to feel like forever, but it truly was over in what seemed like the blink of an eye. For that reason, I would have told myself (pre-departure) to enjoy every minute, see everything I possibly could, and to take more pictures to remember the experience.
The best advice that I can offer to others is to enjoy the experience as much as you can, because it really will be over before you know it. Take every opportunity and don’t forget to take a bunch of pictures!