I had a lot of time to reflect upon my last 4 months studying abroad as we sat on the runway for 4 hours waiting to take off (yeah…not fun). I had 9 more hours after take off to think about what the last 4 months (or actually more like 3 1/2) have meant to me.
It was without a doubt, a semester to remember. Similar to the 10 hour turned 14 plane hour ride home, it wasn’t at all what I expected, nor was it without some turbulence along the way. While I got to travel almost every weekend and go on so many new adventures, there was so much more to my experience than the Instagram pictures you saw.
Spending the summer alone in Paris, luckily kind of prepared me for what to expect. The program I did was located in Northern Italy at the base of the Alps about an hour north of Venice. There were 18 of us Furman students (including one of my closest friends Kayla!) as well as 40 other kids from schools across the country. It was such a cool opportunity to meet kids from other colleges, but also get to know kids from Furman better who I didn’t know very well before!
While the view out my window reminded me of a dream, it was also a reminder of how remote our location was in Italy. Tiny town isn’t an appropriate description; we were in a teeny tiny town (I’m talking no grocery store). It definitely took some time to get used to, but it was also a nice reminder of how wonderful a simple life can be. I got to go on runs through the vineyards with a view of the alps and it was a nice break from the usual fast paced Furman atmosphere (even though I love Furman so much).
While I am a HUGE advocate that everyone should have some kind of study abroad experience, it was definitely not all butterflies and bliss. I missed my family and there were some times of FOMO. I missed homecoming, football tailgating, and 2 of my sorority functions. But, at the same time I was getting to hop from country to country every weekend eating my heart out and I got to see sites I have always dreamed about!!! I’d say it was worth it… J. It’s not always easy, but I promise it’s worth it.
I will be the first to admit it was a break that was much needed. I was exhausted from the rigorous Furman workload and needed some time away doing something I loved (traveling!!). Being away for a semester made me appreciate what I had back at Furman even more. It deepened my love of Furman even more and I realized how much the friends I have made in college mean to me. It also made coming home even more fun! I’m so thankful that I have friends and family and a beautiful campus that makes coming home exciting rather than disappointing.
Although it wasn’t all glamour and glitter. While it may have looked like we just pranced around Europe for 3 months there were some not so nice hostels and lots of weekdays cooped up in my small dorm room trying to get my work down so I wouldn’t have to worry over the weekend.
Over all though, it was a semester to remember. I visited 8 countries in 3 months and visited some of my favorite places in Europe and some places I had never been before! I’ve known that I wanted to study abroad for as long as I can remember. Italy fulfilled my wildest dreams and I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity.
We made the effort to take a ton of pictures everywhere we went! I also brought my brother's GoPro (thanks Christopher!!) and took a video in every place we went!
To read about everywhere I went!:
If you have any questions about studying abroad or are hesitate about it or want to know more details about my trips, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions! (email@example.com)