Written by maddylayton April 22, 2022
Now that I have made it back home and am settled in, I would like to write my final reflections of this whole study abroad experience. The best thing about being home is finally getting to see everyone who I had been missing so much. Second to that is the food. Italy had great food, but it was not as diverse. The biggest issue was the breakfast choices. I am so happy that I now can eat any type of food I want.
The hardest thing about being home is I miss all the great people in my study abroad program so much. It was interesting getting to know people from different states, which made me realize how many differences there actually are between us. However, I wish that we all didn’t live so far away. I am already looking forward to the next CIMBA reunion. This is something that you won’t get with other study abroad programs. We all knew each other so well because we had classes together, traveled together, did LIFE together. I’ve never been so close with people in my college classes before, given that normal college environments are so much more impersonal.
This experience has taught me a lot about myself. Now that I am back home, I see everything around me, including myself a little bit differently. I feel enlightened in a way because without this experience I wouldn’t know all that I do now. I learned that I am capable of much more than what I thought I was before. Through CIMBA experiences such as LIFE, I saw that I can do hard things and even succeed at them. Also, with traveling just with friends and having to figure everything out on our own really taught me that I can truly do anything I set my mind to.
Furthermore, now I don’t take discomfort as a sign of looming failure. Instead, I see it as just a passing feeling. The change for me was that I realized my own discomfort or anxiety wasn’t a barrier anymore. It is my body’s natural reaction, but in no way will it prevent me from doing something I want to do, especially with practice. A lot of these new perspectives for me came from learning about system 1 and system 2 in my LEAP class, doing my speech repeatedly in LIFE 2, as well as the shock of LIFE 1. Coming back home was exactly what I needed to be able to see how much I changed. Now I can see myself using reappraisal tools, mindfulness and what I learned in LIFE coaching every day.
For these reasons, I really do recommend going to CIMBA for a semester if you want this unique experience. It’s not for everyone and there are students who would have enjoyed a different program more than this one. For me, the LEAP class and LIFE made it worth it because I feel that I have so much more knowledge about myself and how the mind works. I also was able to create examples for myself during the program that I now look back on as proof that I can do anything I set my mind to even if that means feeling uncomfortable. This is the valuable insight that CIMBA and my study abroad experience gave me. All I have to say now is, until next time Italy and my fellow CIMBA students. Ciao for now!