The days leading up to my departure, I regretted everything. I was so excited when the concept of studying abroad was just an idea, but when it started to become real, I was filled with terror. I have never been across the world before, let alone by myself, so travelling alone to another continent was very intimidating to me. Not only that, but I had to be prepared to embrace the weather, culture, and geography of three different countries: Italy, the Netherlands, and Denmark. My first destination was Venice, Italy, where it was not as common for people to speak English as the Netherlands or Denmark. To prepare as best I could, I learned some Italian through the Mango app, which was free through verification through the University of Alabama, and Duolingo.
The first day I spent in Venice I had to talk myself out of just going straight to sleep. I was dead tired, but I knew if I went to sleep so early it would be harder to recover from jet lag. Instead, I pushed myself to explore the city. I walked down the street with no destination, just taking in the culture and enjoying the air. Due to the geography of the city, there are no cars in Venice, which I found quite enjoyable. The sounds and smells of cars stress me out, but here I was free from it. The city was absolutely breathtaking. I eventually settled in at a café near my hotel to enjoy a chocolate croissant and a glass of wine. It was very anxiety inducing ordering, because I was afraid they would not understand me or I would look like a silly tourist, but I got through it. After getting that first interaction out of the way, I felt much more comfortable that everything would be okay. The chocolate croissant ended up being the perfect end to the day (and the best pastry I had in all of Italy). I knew I had made the right decision and it was going to be a great summer.