I’ve never been a particularly spontaneous person, I have always played it safe and always done what is comfortable. This has led to me continuously feeling unaccomplished and like I haven’t used my skills and aspirations to the best of my abilities. Choosing to study abroad not knowing anyone on the trip and never having been out of the country was completely out of character for me, but it was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up. I am an art major and the trip I decided to go on is the UA in Italy Art & Art History trip. Although I didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, I knew most students would be other art majors and people that I could make connections with through our common interests. I talked with a teacher that was going on the trip (though she later had to back out) and became more and more interested, as I had studied a lot of the sites we would go to in her classes. When I finally decided for sure I wanted to go on the trip, my family and friends called me crazy. I did feel crazy at times, as I had no idea how to prepare or what needed to be done. However, I stuck with my decision, and as the months passed I made small steps to make sure I’d be ready when the time came to depart to Italy. I studied Italian culture, bought things that would be useful for the trip, and studied the areas we would be traveling to. This made me both nervous and excited for the trip, as I felt overwhelmed not having anyone to talk with about these things, but also excited seeing how the trip was going to impact my outlook on my studies and the kind of art I want to make. 

I had also never flown before, so I knew taking a 12 hour flight halfway across the world was going to be difficult. I stressed over the technicalities of airfare and everything that could go wrong, and when the day came to get on the first of two flights, I was a nervous wreck. I had my parents come with me until they weren’t allowed to go any further in the airport, and I kept my phone clenched in my hand in case I needed to call someone or look something up. The airport was easier than I expected, but the plane ride was very difficult. My first flight from my hometown to Charlotte wasn’t so bad, but from Charlotte to Rome was over 8 hours of sitting up right and not being able to speak to my friends and family. It got to the point that I questioned my decision to make such a huge step by myself, but as soon as I got to the airport and found my group, I got a look at Rome and the new environment that I would be in for the next two weeks. It was difficult adjusting, but I quickly adapted to the change in scenery and found a place for myself in this incredible journey.