It may seem like common sense that you should make friends in your study abroad program. However, I didn't realize how strong of a bond I would make with others in just three weeks. The people pictured above from left to right are me, Olivia, Henry, and AJ. Before the program started, the only one of the three I mentioned that I had already met was Olivia, well for 10 seconds. I was in a rush going through the Student Center at UA with my Study Abroad program shirt on, and Olivia said "Hey! I'm in that program too," then we introduced ourselves to each other. With 45 students in our program, I really didn't think I was going to talk much to her again. With AJ and Henry, I met them the second day of our program, in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    In Venice, Italy, I spent a lot of time with Olivia, Henry, and AJ. We went out to eat together, explored the city, and tried our hardest to find a gondola for a "reasonable" price. Trust me, it isn't easy finding a fair rate for a gondola. From side streets on canals, next to bridges, to going on the body of water facing mainland, we traveled gondola to gondola trying to find one for 80 euros. Our professor, Dr. Lee, told us 80 euros was average. From 150 euros for an hour, 120 euros for 30 minutes, 120 euros to just stay facing mainland (less exploration of the island of Venice), to 100 euros for 30 minutes exploring the island, we chose the last option. We might have bonded a little bit over the stress of finding a gondola, a Venetian staple, on our last day in Venice, but the memories we made I will cherish more.

    Although capturing breathtaking pictures from the gondola with my friends was amazing, our adventure was even more enjoyable. For instance, Olivia and AJ are F1 fanatics, Olivia for McClaren and AJ for Red Bull, Henry and I are not. AJ wanted to watch the beginning of the race so bad, so we went restaurant to restaurant, trying to find one with a TV inside. After only 10-ish minutes, we were able to find one. One thing we learned was that most Europeans don't tend to be Red Bull fans. AJ entered the restaurant with his Red Bull Hat and jacket while everyone else was either routing for Ferrari or McClaren. We spoke with groups from Australia, Norway, and the UK, each group teased AJ a little with Olivia, it was pretty funny, he thought so too. With a packed room, I strained my neck to make an attempt to stare at the TV that was directly above me. In the end, Red Bull, or Max Verstappen won the race, so it was worth it. I still giggle a little too. Henry and I were set on not investing our time into watching racing, however, once we entered the restaurant, Henry plopped down on a chair in the middle of the room and stared at the TV until the end. I am convinced he has been converted to the ways of F1. What a time we had in Venice. I encourage you to everyone in your program. Trust me, you will find a small group that you click with, and possibly make lifelong friends.