It may be ironic that I got the acceptance email to be Auburn’s next graduate assistant for this program while at a food festival in my home city. Flash forward to today, I am nearly done with my time here in Italy and I can’t believe the amount of amazing food I’ve consumed in the past three months. Three months! Time flies but if there is something that I’ve really allowed to settle into my thoughts during my time here, it is to breathe in moments as if they are all you have. I have found the ability to focus less on the linear agenda of the experiences and more on the thoughts or emotions that certain places conjure up inside of me. Then of course, I snap back to reality and take notes on presentations, count students, or answer assignment questions.
I could bore readers with the logistics of being a GTA but there are hand-books for that. Instead, I want my words to reflect the growth and broadened perspective of a young adult who took a little break from the science world to learn about other things. Fashion (?!), architecture, Roman history, contemporary history, current world events, Greek mythology, philosophy- these are just a few of the class topics. I loved every minute of learning from the lecturers who are so passionate about their subjects and about us wanting to learn them as well.
Every place or thing is preluded with learning about it. We were never unaware of the richness of a structure or the vast history of a location. I could practically see the cities and people as they once were in some places just by the facts learned and the atmosphere of human connectedness. Our days were spent being gently nudged out of comfort zones and into places where we could expand our understanding and alter preconceived notions. We’re encouraged and shown how to humanize our knowledge of history.
Writing teachers do always say, “Tell them what you will tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” We learn what we’ll see, we see it, and then we reflect on what we saw. Veni, Vidi, Vici.
I could summarize this experience in so many ways but I will do so on this note. I will return to my life in America as still one in 7.4 billion living persons but I bring with me a larger identity with fewer boundaries of self. We’re not so different across times and borders, really.
By: Kathryn Heidt