“These Days, These Days”

“…We’ll sit down together, and laugh with each other, and we’ll wish we could come back to these days, these days…” – lyrics from “These Days” by Rudimental

As I sit here listening to these lyrics on repeat, I realize no song could be more perfect to describe this semester. After spending 12 weeks in Ariccia (for the second time), I am more grateful than ever for this incredible JSB Auburn Abroad in Italy Program and these special days we get to spend here and all over Europe.

When I last left Ariccia at the close of 2016, I knew I had to find a way to return, but I had no idea how I was going to make that goal happen. This town and these people held a special place in my heart—so special of a place that it was something I couldn’t go a day without thinking about. When the opportunity opened up, I jumped in head first.

I have shared life-changing experiences with 20 girls who, at this moment, I can’t imagine not being able to chat with every second of every day. We have had the pleasure of taking on very big tasks that we couldn’t have done without each other. From all the humbling and not-so-fun ones like serving lunch for over 500 people at Caritas in Rome, encouraging each other while we were climbing almost 500 steps of the Dome in Florence, being on the verge of tears, and digging for a passport in the airport trashcans at midnight to very opposite and amazing extremes, like watching the sunset in Positano from our balcony with our feet in the hot tub, riding in gondolas in Venice while drinking wine, and stuffing our faces with the yummiest pizza in Naples.

Because of each and every one of these girls and this experience, I have a new perspective on life I never knew existed. I had no idea how special, yet different this time around would be for me. I could go on and on about how much I learned about myself and the world. Most importantly, I learned how globalization really is impacting my life on a daily basis and that my career opportunities are endless. I learned patience is a virtue AND I became even more emotional (Who knew that was possible?!). Although there have been hard and challenging times, these times have been priceless and I wouldn’t change them for the world. I know we will always be able to look back and laugh, cry, and wish we could come back to these days, these days.

Alexandra Howard

Our very first group picture where we barely knew each other’s name to our last picture