Coming to a close

As my semester in Florence is coming to a close and I reflect on my time here I can’t help but feel an overall sense of gratitude. Gratitude not only for the amazing people I met and the memories I made, but for the person I have grown to be since getting on a plane across the world and leaving everything I knew behind 3 months ago.

Studying abroad has taught me to be more adaptable simply because of all the different experiences I have encountered. As a foreigner, I encountered cultural differences that sometimes felt uncomfortable, but I learned throughout these 3 months to just be open minded and embrace all of these beautiful new experiences. I’ll never forget my trip to Morocco earlier this semester with my roommates. Being slightly intimidated at first, but quickly realizing that the locals there were just as excited to see us as we were to meet them. Every country I have traveled to has had its differences, but one thing I have found in common between them all is the overall love for one another. 

The most significant lesson I learned from my study abroad experience was the importance of independence. Living alone in a foreign country forced me to be self-reliant and take responsibility for my well-being. From simple things like grocery shopping to navigating public transportation, I had to figure things out for myself. As I have touched on in previous blog posts, The University of Pittsburgh is only a mere 20 minutes away from where I grew up, and while most kids gain that first feeling of independence moving far from home and going to college, I never felt like I truly got that staying so close to home. This program abroad really gave me my first feeling of true independence and in return gave me a newfound confidence that I know I will carry back to the states with me.             

If there’s one thing I wish I would have known at the beginning of the program, it would have been to understand how fast this once in a lifetime opportunity truly goes by. It feels like just yesterday I was getting off the plane and landing in Florence, and to think as I write this blog that I only have 2 weeks left is mind-blowing. This trip has really taught me to cherish every day and moment to the absolute fullest, and as I return to Pitt as a senior, I will apply that same attitude towards my final year of college.