Is Studying Abroad as Easy as 1-2-3?

Written by stellafitzgerald November 7, 2023

It has been exactly 123 days since I had to say goodbye to the beautiful CIMBA campus in Italy and all the amazing friends and people I met there. Although I have been away for quite some time, CIMBA has remained ever present in my life… I think I have successfully managed to bring up CIMBA and my wonderful experience there nearly every single day since.

When I talk about my study abroad experience and all my travels, I tend to share with others the “highlight reel” of my time there. Other people get to see the postcard worthy pictures I took, hear about my newly found life-long friendships, and the quintessential northern Italian town of Paderno del Grappo. While all those things are extremely true, there are a lot of pictures and stories others don’t see or hear about. I nearly always fail to mention the stories about all my luggage getting lost in the Newark Airport and not making it to Italy with me. Or the time when all of friends and I were taking the public buses in Rome and did not realize/know how to buy a ticket, so we all got a 50 euro fine. Or the time when my good friend got so sick in Dresden, Germany we had to voyage across the whole city to various grocery stores, pharmacies, and hospitals… and when a doctor to finally prescribed her some medicine on a Saturday evening, we realized that all the pharmacies were not only already closed but also closed on Sunday’s.

So, was studying abroad as easy as 1-2-3? Definitely not. Traveling is hard at any time in your life. And traveling when you’re young with potentially zero to little traveling experience, to a new country with different cultures and languages is even harder. But don’t let this scare you away.

Through all the travel challenges try to stay positive, flexible, and curious. Laugh things off. Be easy on yourself. Studying abroad is not as easy as 1-2-3; the hard parts might not make your “highlight reel” but they really can make your trip. I know that well beyond these 123 days post CIMBA, truly the best growth, education, and realizations about myself, my abilities, other people, and the world around me came from these less-than-perfect parts.