Not one single word can be used to describe the experience of studying abroad in Italy with the JSB program. I signed up for this study abroad experience my first week of freshman year, over two years ago. The excitement continued to build up, along with a lot of feelings of the unknown. I felt overwhelmed as the experience was getting closer but at the same time was filled with hope of so many new possibilities. As I have learned in the past two weeks, I the best way to take down such an incredible and bigger-than-you experience like this is to jump right in.
I most definitely recommend bringing a small personal journal. I started writing in mine about 12 days before my departure. I filled it with emotions of leaving, how I was packing, the places I wanted to go, and so on. Living in the Chigi Palace is an experience on its own. Living in a place with so much rich history and with amazing friends that I know will develop into lifelong relationships makes this experience even more special. The personal journal I have, gives me the extra space I need keep track of where I am emotionally, mentally, and physically. I would highly suggest to anyone getting ready to study abroad with JSB or any other program to bring a special journal that can be used to be present and stay aware of every aspect of this incredible experience. It is also something special to hold onto to look back on in the future.
I would also suggest to, no matter what, always say yes. Never stop exploring, and always say yes to hanging out with the other students for lunch or dinner. To always remember this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that not many people are lucky enough to have. I have gained such an incredible feeling of gratitude and perspective throughout my first two weeks here. Through this journey I am excited to see how I will grow through challenging myself to always say yes to the places I want to go and things I want to do.