Do Not Be Afraid

Going into the program I had no idea what to expect. I was completely terrified at the thought of immersing myself in a new culture. I must have spent a few days packing and repacking my suitcase. I showed up to the airport several hours early just in case. I made flash cards with Italian phrases on them in order to prepare myself. I was an excited, nervous wreck.

I wish I would have spent more time focusing on enjoying my summer. When I came here I was incredibly overwhelmed the first few days, but I quickly realized that I had nothing to worry about. Since I have been here everything has gone so smoothly. The Interlinea staff are some of the kindest people I have ever met. When it comes to dealing with young travelers, they have literally taken every precaution to ensure that this is a smooth transition for us. I feel so incredibly safe knowing that I have them to look to for guidance. This program is absolutely magical, and I feel so blessed to be here.

Even on my worst days, I have had such an amazing time. For instance, I could not spend a dime of my own money on the first weekend that I left Italy. I had issues notifying my bank of my travels and they froze my primary checking account. That same weekend I also had a bad fall in the middle of a street, stepped in dog poop, forgot my raincoat during a rainy weekend, had a flight delay, and spent several hours in a boring airport. If not for the wonderful friends I traveled with I would have completely fallen apart. They covered my expenses and made me laugh when I felt like crying. Did I mention that I just met them?! These other students are fantastic people, and we have already become so close.

As for the people of Italy, they are so sweet and understanding. As long as newcomers try to speak Italian they are more than willing to help. They know this program very well and look forward to interacting with us every day.

With that being said, I feel silly for having worried so much. Everything has worked out so well up to this point. I am more independent than I have ever been in my life. Part of what makes this journey fun is overcoming obstacles and stepping beyond normal boundaries. I would recommend this experience to anyone looking for a grand adventure of epic proportions.

Lindsay Souders

Here I am spending a weekend in Croatia with my new friends!