Going abroad, you are often advised to soak it all in and make the most of it. When hearing this from friends and family, I was intimidated by this! Questions arose like what happens when I’m too tired? How do I document my trip without any errors? What if I don’t enjoy myself as much as everyone expects?

These anxieties were washed away easily upon arrival in Italy for my study abroad trip with the Art and Art History Department. While I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the most of the trip due to sleepiness, jet lag, or lack of time, I knew once I was with my group that it would be okay. As my trip comes to a close, I have had time to reflect on my trip and realize that I truly had the time of my life – all thanks to the easy answer of “Yes”!

Finding your group abroad may take a few days, but it will fall into place. As many had advised, the moments that truly allowed me to “soak it in” were those where I could say yes to exploring and interacting with those studying with me. Everyone going abroad is in it together and is excited to see it all, too! While it may seem daunting when there is so much to see, the smaller moments when you walk through the city laughing alongside your new – and now lifelong – friends, are some of my most special memories of the trip.

While I think the phrases “Soak it all in!” or “Make the most of it!” are great advice – I think a better piece of advice for any young person traveling abroad is to live in the moment. Let the city or area you are traveling to guide your experience and be willing to say yes to the moments that could make your trip, no matter how small. For our trip, we could see multiple cities in Italy – and I tried my hardest to stay within each town, making the most of each environment without thinking about the sights and experiences of the future. Taking it in daily, and savoring the present as often as possible, was my key to a perfect trip – full of lifelong memories.