To Carolyne

To Carolyne,

You have truly grown so much from this once in a lifetime experience. I know before you left you were nervous to move to a new city without knowing anyone or knowing what to expect. You feared the unknown, home sickness, and not making the most of the experience.

Something happened that you never imagined. On February 11th, my study abroad experience changed. I got injured and tore my ACL and fractured my tibia. Never did I think that I would be in that situation. After my injury, I took the time I needed to rest and then continued to make the most of my experience. I was terrified that I ruined my semester abroad, but I decided to have a positive attitude about it and face the challenges by adjusting to a new way of getting around with crutches and a brace. The injury still changed my experience, but I still did what I could to explore new places. For a while each time I walked outside I became a stronger person. It took a long time to adjust to the stares that people would give me, but after some time I got used to it. Now, I walk on the streets and store owners recognize me and ask how I am doing. As my time abroad comes to end, I do not regret anything, and I think I did the best I could to push through a major obstacle.

My injury became a huge part of my experience but there are also many things I wished I knew before going abroad. I wish I researched more about Florence before coming abroad. I learned so much about Florence while I was here, but I also think it would have been helpful to do more research about the culture before arriving. In addition, I wish I knew how much I would love it here because I was so nervous to leave home. It would have saved me a lot of stress and now I don’t want to go home! I also wish I knew the about the amount of free time I would have. For the first time in college, I had only 12 credits and no extracurricular activities leaving so much time to explore Florence. I used the free time to explore and as a result I learned a lot about myself. Having free time is something I am going to miss most about this semester.

I am surprised about how much I enjoyed living abroad. There are many things that I miss about home such as the grocery stores but there are also so many things I am going to miss about Florence. In addition, I was surprised about how many spoke English in every city I visited. I found that majority of people speak English, which made it easier but also made me feel bad about not knowing Italian. It made me appreciate the fact that I was taking Italian this semester.

It is sad that I only have a few weeks left but I will never forget my time abroad. Thanks for following a long with me!