If I was to tell myself one year ago that I would be in my final hours before departing to study abroad in multiple towns in Italy I wouldn’t believe it at first due to all of the covid-related restrictions, costs, and just how big of an opportunity this is. I also haven’t flown on a plane in over a decade, let alone never have been out of the country. So why did I choose to study abroad for the summer of 2022? Well, there were many factors in my decision such as getting the opportunity to travel to Italy for a couple of weeks and getting to earn credit hours in a great way, but what really confirmed why I would go is the pricing for the program was a little high for my liking, but I don’t know when I will ever get another chance for this experience, because in the end memories are more valuable than any sort of currency.
Now ever since I was confirmed to attend this program I have been using any spare time available to prepare for this trip. A few things I did months in advance to prepare for this trip were purchase a good-priced flight, learn some basic Italian phrases, and did my research on how to blend in with Italy to lessen my chances of being approached by a scammer or just being flat out mugged. Some specific things that I have purchased for my trip, which can be used for any European trip, are a money bag to strap around my waist and under my shirt, a passport holder with a scan protector installed, a decent amount of currency both physical and technological, and most importantly an adapter for charging my electronic devices, so they don’t short out from the different types of voltages.
Overall I am ecstatic about this opportunity of a lifetime, but that still doesn’t prevent last-minute jitters. Like even though I’ve prepped for this trip I still have those inner thoughts mostly about being on the airplane, and no flying isn’t one of them. I’m more nervous about hoping my flights don’t get delayed, I go through all of the right gates, but most importantly praying that I wouldn’t lose my luggage throughout the flight. So to help my whole luggage situation I found an answer to help this during my research by simply making my suitcase more recognizable, so I just put a distinctive colored duct tape around the handle, but also put a strip of duct tape inside my suitcase with my name and number, just incase if it did get lost. I’m glad that I’ve used as much time as possible to prepare for this trip physically and emotionally because if I didn’t I would’ve just had that feeling when you wait until the last minute to turn in an assignment, which no one ever likes, but we’ve all done it.
Now while I’m excited about this trip I still have to remember that not only am I representing an American citizen I am most importantly representing the University of Alabama so it is critical that I wouldn’t do anything that for example I wouldn’t want my pastor to know about. That being said I’m excited about the learning experiences available such as seeing what makes Italian dishes so authentic that it’s hard to recreate them in America, what is the Italian citizen’s opinions on American events, and what makes living in Italy worth it. I also hope to see a lot of authentic Italian art and architecture, such as the Roman colosseum, the original painting of the last supper, the majority of the town of Pompeii, and on a side note some previous filming locations for movies such as The Last Crusade that was filmed a small amount in Venice. The final thing I hope to experience from this trip is to gain more knowledge about Italy to tell my family, friends, and other colleagues why studying abroad in Italy was worth it.