From the start of the semester, I have held tight to the idea that I would be spending this upcoming semester in Rome. Spending the entirety of my life living in suburban Central Florida, with short-term visits to cities of cultures vastly different from my own, I envisioned what life would look like living in a city so different from what I am accustomed to. Reflecting on other students’ stories of their time in Rome, my expectations have consistently been quite high – I cannot wait for my on-site classes, I keep envisioning what weekly life in Rome will look like, and I have been (surface-level) researching weekend trips for what seems like forever. Up until the last few weeks, however, my upcoming time in Italy has seemed like a fantasy.
With my departure nearing, the reality of a semester abroad is finally starting to set in, and although this comes with great excitement, nerves are also starting to set in. While I know that homesickness, a certain level of discomfort, and growing pains are all inevitable, preparing for such realities can be quite anxiety-inducing. However, with each nervous thought, I have learned that I must recognize the validity of my fears, but simultaneously not let them consume my thoughts. My upcoming semester will be an entirely new experience that will bring countless lessons and positive memories, all of which will undoubtedly help me grow as an individual. I am looking forward to interacting with people of cultures different from my own, seeing centuries-old art and architecture, and ultimately living and learning in an atmosphere so unlike the one I am accustomed to.
This past year has been spent recognizing my identities and how I can better align my lifestyle to my thoughts and beliefs, and I hope my semester abroad will further this endeavor. So, although I know I will experience several setbacks and difficulties (just as I have in any period of my life), I also know that existing inside my comfort zone will only keep me from growth; thus, with such a notion, I cannot wait for what lies ahead.