You are about to embark on four months of crazy, beautiful, eyeopening experiences. You have been dreaming of these months for as long as you can remember and I promise you it will be everything you could ever hope for in more. In fact, by going in with no expectations, you’re setting yourself up to be pleasantly surprised by everything that comes your way. Continue to treasure moments for what they are rather than what you hoped they would be.
You are more than capable of living out of a suitcase and a backpack for a semester, and you are wrong to think you won’t do much shopping while you’re here. The food is indescribably delicious, but Tuscan bread is absolutely terrible. Eating at a restaurant by yourself is a great opportunity to catch up on the journaling that you’ll be grateful for years from now. Speaking of journaling, do it every day, even on the seemingly insignificant days. You’ll be surprised how quickly you forget small details when your life is filled with the chaos of traveling and adjusting to new cultures.
The art and architecture of Europe are breathtaking and inspiring – I know you don’t pay much attention to it yet, but soon you’ll spend hours appreciating it, wishing you could spend more carefree afternoons wandering through museums. In every city you go to, you will have a negative experience- don’t let a minor inconvenience shape your opinion of a place or ruin your day. You will learn to navigate international transportation, healthcare systems and financial institutions. Many days, you will surprise yourself with how you’ve learned to think so quickly and adapt to challenges without batting an eye, and you will be proud.
You are going to make lifelong friends from all over the US and some who even go to Pitt. You will be reconnected with people who you thought were long gone and experience losses you never expected. You will miss your family deeply but will also be devastated when the program comes to an end. And you will have to accept the fact that the clichés about studying abroad are true- you will learn and grow more than you could ever imagine.
You are about to have the best time and make memories you will carry with you forever.
Enjoy it all,