LIFE Abroad in Paderno del Grappa

Written by Abby October 29, 2018



Our first week in the beautiful Northern Italian town of Paderno del Grappa was a whirlwind! Forty-three of us arrived on campus from across the United States. We didn’t know one another, speak any Italian, and generally weren’t sure what to expect from the semester. After a couple of days on campus we started the “Leadership Initiative For Excellence” (LIFE) program, which proved to be a “life” –changing experience. Giving too much away would ruin the fun for future LIFE participants, but I’ll do my best to describe the weekend here.

Our first night of LIFE was intense and emotional. As a group of 43, we were forced to come together quickly to complete challenges and forge a bond. In LIFE we were put into awkward and nerve-racking situations right out of the gate, situations meant to test us and teach us about ourselves and our reactions to the situations. After the first night, tensions were high, and people were frustrated that we would have to do this for the next two days. However, come the end of day two, our group of 43 strangers transformed into a team of 43 friends.

It is rare that a whole program of students go through LIFE together. I think it was one of the most impacting experiences that I have had to date. I have never felt so comfortable with a group of peers that I have gone to school with. If you are on the fence about enrolling in LIFE, please stop thinking about it and just do it! It was one of the most rewarding experiences, and it gave me some of my best friends and relationships with people I could have ever asked for.