Gracious Love

Before leaving for this study abroad opportunity, I was scared of becoming homesick, nostalgic, and negative. I have only been in Italy for 4 weeks now, but I know that none of that is going to be true. I have learned so much already and I am working on putting several values into practice that I think have helped the 4 weeks go smoother than I expected.

The first is staying true to myself. I know this sounds cliché, but it can truly affect a friendship. When we first got here, we were thrown into the chaos of having to bond with twenty other students. I have quickly come to love and respect every person in this group because of the amount of vulnerability and love I see they have for themselves. That brings me to the second value I think is so important: the ability to love yourself. It is common knowledge that the negativity of one person can bring down the morale of the whole group, and I think that a lot of the time negativity stems from not being able to love yourself well. I know that we all struggle with loving ourselves well and everyone is full of their own insecurities. But the moment that we let those insecurities take the front seat, we let jealousy and unhappiness rule in our lives.

I am so thankful for the group here on this study abroad session. Everyone is so incredible and is constantly building someone up. There have been little times that negativity has had the ability to rule. I think that if our group continues to stay genuine and love well, the rest of the summer is going to fly by in the best way possible and we will always be able to look back on this summer with a smile on our faces.

Love, Ellie