What I Hope Holds True
Written by Caroline September 11, 2017
Ciao! My name is Caroline and I am a student at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. In just a few days, I will be landing at Venice Marco Polo airport to start my three-month journey in Paderno del Grappa, and I. am. pumped.
I found out I was CIMBA bound in February, so I’ve had lots of time to tell people I am taking a semester off from Furman to explore Europe and study abroad. Each of these conversations has a similar flow to it, with the other person gushing out how great of a time I will have (fingers crossed they’re right!). They then proceed to tell me about their own abroad experiences, what to pack, where to go, etc. There are reoccurring phrases I hear from pretty much everyone, so much so that I am curious to find out if they are accurate in my own experience.
So, before I jet off to Italy, I thought I’d make a list of these common phrases I hope hold true:
1. Studying abroad was the best thing I did in college OR I wish I studied abroad in college.
This one is very reassuring it to me. I am yet to come across someone who regretted trading the familiar for the adventure.
2. Italy is my favorite country in Europe.
Also another one I love to hear. I’ve been to several countries in Europe but never Italy. I was lucky enough to have some options as to where I’d study abroad, and I am hearing more and more that I made the right choice!
3. The food is incredibly fresh- eat EVERYTHING.
Not going to lie, I was a bit hesitant about going to a country so well known for its irresistible pasta and pizza. But, I have heard that the ingredients Italians pride themselves in are so fresh and good for our bodies that I do not need to fear. Permission to eat endless gelato: granted.
4. Living in a little town is the way to go.
With many of my college friends studying in big-name cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Florence, I was unsure if Paderno del Grappa is the best place for me to spend three months. But, former Cimbians have told me the relationships I will make with the Paderno del Grappa locals are priceless and unheard of in touristy cities. Time with locals may be one of the things I’m most excited about.
5. Your time abroad will change your perspective.
Time and time again I am told that I will not come back from my semester abroad the same. That’s not to say I will return to the U.S. speaking fluent Italian and drinking wine at every meal, but that I will feel more connected to and empowered by the various countries and cultures I experience this semester. I hope to come back with a new outlook on my place in the world, how people of different cultures can agree on fundamental values, and to be challenged by global perspectives.
Well, with a suitcase full of clothes and a heart full of anticipation, I am off! I’m excited to see how many—if not all—of these above statements will apply to me come December.
Keep checking back for more blog posts about my experience throughout the semester. I am looking forward to sharing it all with you!