On May 7th, 2019, I hopped off a bus in front of a giant, white palace in the town of Ariccia. I had no idea what I was doing halfway across the world, away from friends and family, or what I was about to get myself into. I was too jet-lagged to see the numerous cars barreling down the road almost running me over, too tired to realize how astonishing the view was from the bridge, and too out of place to take in where I was standing. Grabbing my suitcases (yes I brought 3) I headed down the steep cobblestone driveway to the front door of Auburn’s international campus, took a deep breath, and walked inside. Ever since taking those steps, I’ve had constant cheek aches from smiling so much.
I never knew how much happiness living abroad would bring me. As a nutrition major at Auburn, I am challenged solely through academics. Here, I am challenged not only with academics but also socially, physically, and mentally. Many classes and field experience activities have forced me to step out of my comfort zone. For instance, navigating through Rome with solely a map and teammates, public speaking in our leadership class, and ordering dinner at a restaurant where no one speaks English. I should also mention getting used to living with twenty-one other students. Everything I have been forced to do while abroad, either in Ariccia, Rome, or on a weekday trip to a spontaneous Italian city, pushes me to be a better version of myself. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds, and I am anxious to seek the adventures that remain undiscovered.
Here’s to continuing to be challenged, facing my fears, laughing until I cry, and smiling until my cheeks ache!
From Ariccia with love,