It’s more than “Just Studying Abroad”

Written by khettlinger April 13, 2018

As my time at CIMBA starts to drastically wind down, it is easy for me to reflect on the weeks that I have spent in Paderno del Grappa. It is funny to look back at my first night in Italy when I was jet lagged beyond belief but still made an effort to get to know the others in the program. It is hard to look back because I cannot figure out where the time has gone. The twelve weeks went by so quickly that it is difficult to believe.

I will not lie and say that my adjustment to life abroad was not extremely difficult. I remember laying in a new bed in a new continent without my parents and just dreading the time in between when I would see them again. I knew that this was not like going to school in Iowa where I could hop in my car and be with my family in 3.5 hours if I was homesick. This feeling in my gut went away at some point and I did not even notice it leave.

The love I felt from people who I only knew for such a short time was overwhelming. I found friends in the CIMBA program from all over the United States that supported me for simply being myself. Even though I got to travel to spectacular places every weekend, I was still excited to go back to campus in Paderno del Grappa. The reason behind this was because of the people I met and the strong bonds we made. 

I have grown to love the small town that I have lived in for the past three months. We are lucky to be submerged into an area that shows us the real Italian life style. Waking up every morning to the mountains is something I will miss so much after I go home. Reality begins to set in when I realize the likelihood that I may not make it back to Paderno del Grappa in my future. It will always hold a special place in my heart. The town and everything in it was with me for the entire time of my life changing experience and I could not be more thankful for this program and everyone in it.