Arkansas to Italy

Written by Katherine May 11, 2015

Walton College in the Spring

Trading Fayetteville Sunrises for Italian Landscapes

Born & raised in Northwest Arkansas with a family that supports my dreams!

Flying into Bologna on May 14th!

Padova is the second city on my list- 30 mins away from Venice!

Passport- check
Plane tickets- check
Packing- in progress
Disbelief that I am about to leave for Italy in a week- check 

These are the final weeks at home before I trade southern accents for Italian ones, burgers for bruschetta, and hellos for ciaos. The fact that my dream of studying abroad is about to become a reality is unbelievable to me. I still remember daydreaming when I was little about the adventures around the world, foreign places, and interesting people. Living in Europe for a month is probably one of the coolest things I’ll be able to say in my life so far and I cannot wait to fill up journals and scrapbook pages with all of the memories to come. 

Growing up and going to school in the beautiful area of Northwest Arkansas has been a joy of mine. Living and learning in a place that cultivates creativity, knowledge, and business has been the perfect transition into the “abroad” way of thinking. I am a junior in marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and I am receiving a minor in both nonprofit organization and management.

I learned about CIMBA through one of the school’s best marketing professors. She taught at CIMBA over 15 times and boasts about the program and the leadership opportunities CIMBA provides. We will get to meet local merchants and business people to fully immerse ourselves in the uniquely Italian way of life. The town is a little mountain community in Northern Italy and I cannot wait to meet the locals and practice the language like my teacher talks about.

Some of the biggest worries in trip preparation have been: who I’m going with, how will I pay for it, and how will I plan to make this the best experience possible before I even step on the plane. The Walton College staff has been so great in putting people together; we are having a meeting this week with all of the CIMBA students coming from Walton. I have also met a girl who wants to visit similar places and is taking the same classes as I am and we are going to travel a week after CIMBA ends to try and extend our journey and cross some more countries off of our list.

CIMBA has also been wonderful in their scholarship programs and helping to cut down on some of the costs. I have received several scholarships for this summer and I am so excited about the opportunity to share my experiences with my friends, family, and others looking into the CIMBA program. The CIMBA staff has been more than helpful, polite, and really made this process a breeze- another worry off of the list.

The final concern is planning for the trip. Packing, scheduling, and knowing what to do and where to go is a little concerning. I have my Rick Steve’s book in hand, language app ready to go, and lists upon lists slowly being crossed off. I’ve contacted my phone provider, my bank and credit card company – foreign exchange fees from credit card companies can be wild so make sure you check them before you go. With those things taken care of, the fun stuff will begin!

Goodbyes to friends and family as the year is wrapping up has been harder than I thought it would be. I’ve had to switch my thinking from what I will miss while I’m gone to what I’m going to gain by going. My goal is to cross four or five countries off of my list this summer! I plan to go to Croatia and Slovenia to see the castles and countryside, Cinque Terre in western Italy for the brightly painted houses and costal views and possibly Budapest, Hungary for the gold adorned architecture and vibrant city.

More planning, stories and pictures to come from Fayetteville until I make my way over to Paderno on May 18th.

Addio miei amici,