Sunset Breaks

I have always loved sunsets. To my delight, I have seen my fair share of beautiful sunsets during my time in Italy. When I see one I try to take a ‘sunset break’—a time to reflect and enjoy. As this semester comes to an end, I think it is only appropriate to take the time to reflect on and enjoy all that this experience has offered me.

Coming into this semester I was not sure what to expect. I had the opportunity to participate in the Joseph S. Bruno program four years ago during my undergrad, but I was still nervous about returning in the role of Graduate Teaching Assistant. However, my fears were quickly diminished after meeting the group of girls that I would spend the semester with. We quickly settled into stumbling over Italian when ordering at restaurants, navigating new cities, and lots of shopping. Through all these activities and new experiences, beautiful friendships emerged.

Looking back over the last twelve weeks there have been tears and laughter, but not a moment I would trade. Like the blending colors of a sunset, each memory, person, and experience comes together to make a beautiful view. When I look back on this trip and reflect, I will remember the incredible places I visited, but more importantly I will remember the people. I will remember the man in the grocery store that would make the best sandwiches, the wonderful hotel attendant in France, the family that welcomed me into their home for an Italian meal, and especially I will remember the 14 girls and program staff that I got to know so well in the past twelve weeks.

So like a sunset break at the end of a beautiful day, the end of this experience deserves a time to stop, reflect, and commemorate—and that is exactly what I plan to do.


Leah Albers


Sunset from the bridge in Ariccia