Postmarked to Paderno del Grappa

Written by Katie January 14, 2015

Sunrise from the icy shore of Lake Superior


My name is Katie and I am a junior from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I am working toward a degree in organizational management with minors in both marketing and communications. As of January 18, 2015, I will begin my journey to Italy. I will be traveling through the Carlson School of Management alongside a group of 11 guys… Talk about a crazy gender imbalance!

For years, I have been infatuated by the idea of travel. I’ve spent my fair share of late nights pinning must-see places; but with less than a week until departure, it all feels a bit surreal. I’ve scrolled through photos of friends immersed in new cities and cultures, but it is finally dawning on me that the time has come to experience this personally.

With the exception of heading north for college, I’ve grown up in a wonderful neighborhood and have lived in the same house all my life. Although there is comfort in calling Minnesota home, my heart yearns for the expansive opportunities to explore something greater. I have this immense desire to explore, which is exactly what prompted me to venture abroad.

This will be a trip of many firsts; the first time traveling alone, the first time in Europe, and the first time being over 5000 miles from home. I’ve said the majority of my farewells, savored the beloved American breakfast for dinner, and caught a glimpse of one last Lake Superior sunrise.

Fortunately for me, heading to Italy means escaping the infamous winters of Duluth, which made the Farmer’s Almanac list of the five worst winter weather cities in the United States. Besides a much milder winter, I am looking forward to expanding my worldview. I want to better understand other cultures and learn from the similarities and differences that surround us. I plan to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to travel. My dream destinations stray off the beaten path, including Croatia, Budapest, Austria and Switzerland.

As the anticipation continues to build, I grow all the more eager to embark on my Italian adventure. In moments of doubt and hesitation, I ask myself the following question, ‘If not now, then when?‘ While the uncertainty ahead can feel daunting at times, I am excited to take on this challenge. As for now, the current challenge is figuring out how to fit my life into a single suitcase!

My main goal for the upcoming semester is to aim to discover life rather than control it. I hope I can leave my mark on Paderno, but more importantly, I know Paderno will leave its mark on me.

Looking forward to sharing my experiences with you!

Postmarked from Minnesota,