Adjusting and Wanting to Go Home
Usually when people hear this, they think of a house where they were raised, or now currently reside in. When I say home in this title, I mean home as in Florence, Italy. I have been back in the United States for over a month now and I cannot believe how quickly my time studying abroad went by. It seems like just yesterday that I was touching down at Rome Fiumicino Airport before finally taking the journey to Florence, the place that I would call my home for the next 3.5 months, and the place that I still consider my home to this day. I had the most unbelievable experiences while I was abroad both inside the classroom, within the city of Florence, and on my trips to the various places in Europe that I visited. Going into the program not knowing anyone was a little intimidating, but I can say now with full confidence that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I met an amazing group of friends who I now consider my family, and really took full advantage of the opportunity that was given to me. Classes abroad were eye-opening as opposed to the class sizes and teachers that are present back here in the states. Not saying that the teachers here don’t care, but the relationships that I made with my Lorenzo de’ Medici professors cannot be matched. Compassion, companionship, and enjoyment were shared with each and every one of them throughout my time at the school. I hope to continue to stay in touch with them, as I will without a doubt go out of my way to make this happen. Taking 15 credit hours seemed like a lot, but it was the perfect amount for me. International Marketing, Crosscultural Communication, Topics in Nutrition (cooking class), Elementary Italian, along with Wine and Business marketing took up my Monday-Wednesdays, but after that I was free! I even had time to work with the LdM marketing department on creating a strategic marketing plan for the art restoration program in Florence! I was quickly accepted into the Italian culture, and did my best to fit in right from the start (I even met a few other Maio’s during my stay)! Sure there were times where I felt out of place, but all I could do was laugh, smile, and think to myself….I’M IN ITALY!!
Outside of the classroom and in between classes, most of my time was spent exploring Florence, attending local events such as Fiorentina matches or local food events, spending time with friends,playing club soccer for the school, embracing the Italian culture, and most importantly TRAVELING! From my very first trip to Bologna/Venice, all of the way to my last trip in Rome, the places that I visited were breathtaking, amazing, and beautiful at almost every moment. The summary of my places visited includes 11 countries, and over 18 cities in Italy…needless to say I did pretty well with my time abroad! I became a campus ambassador for the travel group Bus2Alps where I met a whole new group of people, and traveled to many places with. The opportunities that the company brings are exciting, and I hope to get back to Europe to work for them at some point (use my code “UC” to save 5% on trips!!). I had amazing food in every place, and highly recommend the following places….La Giostra, Acqua Al Due, Gusta Panino, Gusta Pizza, the Oil Shoppe, Trattoria Sostanza, Zeb, Ristorante Nuti, Gato Dinner, B-Ice Gelato, Venchi Gelato and many many more! The food in Florence is fantastic, and the dining in Europe in general is incredible…you literally can’t go wrong with any of it! I can sit here and reflect on my life abroad for hours and hours, thinking about all of the places I visited and the fantastic people that I met. I talk to my family and friends abroad on a regular basis, and really want to keep this communication going for many years to come. Endsley is flying into Cincinnati this Thursday for my fraternity formal, and we have now locked up our spring break trip out to California to visit a large group of our family that goes to school there. It’s still crazy to sit here and call the once random people that I never knew my family. Here is a picture of them….from skype sessions, to phone calls, to simple text messages, we have all helped each other adjust to being away from one another after spending a huge portion of time together every day…I MISS THEM INSANELY
Now back to the present…even a month later, I am still adjusting to life in the US, wanting to go home still. Life here is a lot more convenient, and it seems like a suitable life, but my time in Italy has confirmed my desire to potentially work abroad later down the road. It’s hard to explain, but the lifestyle of Europe, especially Italy fits me perfectly. Things will definitely be different for me in the future, and I will not have anywhere near the same experiences that I had a short time ago, but it excites me to know that my dream is possible. I am currently planning a post-graduation backpacking trip throughout Europe…needless to say the travel bug has hit me hard! It’s finally becoming evident that I need to step back into reality, and assume my role here at school both inside and out of the classroom, but I can’t let a day go by without thinking about home. My trip couldn’t have been possible without the help from my parents, grandparents, UC International, President Ono, Caroline Miller, Raj Mehta, Athena Study Abroad, and the University of Cincinnati for the love, support, and funding that they provided me with. This trip has opened up a whole new world for me, and I cannot wait to embark on my next journey! As Walt Disney said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Until next time……..