After almost 5 months abroad, I’m back home in the U.S! I will never forget the moment I had way back in January when I took off in a plane and knew I wouldn’t touch U.S soil for another 5 months. All the feelings I had of what was to come and how my experience might change me was all unknown, yet exciting. But now I stand on the other side, my study abroad journey behind me, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my time abroad. Seeing my family for the first time was definitely an emotional experience. It was the longest I had ever gone in my life without seeing them. It’s so good to be home, but I will forever hold a place in my heart for Florence Italy. The friends I met, the locals I spent time with, the food I ate and the places I was able to travel definitely made it hard to settle back into life here in the U.S. I always heard the cliché saying that studying abroad would change you, but I think they were right. They aren’t major changes by any means, but removing yourself from your comfort zone and moving to a foreign country for a handful of months does shape you in new ways. The people I met while abroad, Europeans and American’s too, gave me bigger perspective on people in general. I’m more open and less judgmental than I was before. Everyone has good things to offer if you will only get to know them. I also feel like I appreciate the smaller things more; like the act of driving a car, or grocery shopping and being able to read what you’re buying, or even taking the time to slow down and enjoy a meal with friends and family without being so rushed and on the go. Europe just seemed to me to be more laid back and easy going. I hope to mimic aspects of their “slow” paced way of life into my own. Being in Italy for 5 months, over time I assimilated into their culture. The things that were strange to me in the beginning soon became normal. Upon my return back to the states it took me about a week to adjust. Driving a car again after months was scary yet exciting, being able to go to all my favorite American restaurants was amazing, and dealing with jet lag took time. If you are reading this and are contemplating studying abroad, put fear aside and GO for it! You have nothing to loose and the whole world to gain! You never know who you will meet and what amazing experiences are out there waiting for you! I cannot wait to return some day and walk the streets that I once called home. While being back home is great, I will always miss my other home…Florence.