Don’t Blink

Whoever said studying abroad for the summer would be perfect was not telling the truth. Do not get me wrong, this experience has allowed me to grow in more ways than I could ever imagine, but it also came with some of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. It has been an emotional rollercoaster that has changed my preconceived notions about what this summer would entail. Living with twenty-two strangers was one of my biggest worries coming into this. Thinking about going from living by myself for two years straight to sharing a bedroom with four other girls left me with extreme anxiety. Constantly, I filled my brain with “what-ifs,” but little did I know I would be forming lifelong bonds with these so-called strangers.  

The individual days are exhausting and long, but, looking back, now I feel like I just blinked once and only have two weeks left. I had a fear of being here for three months and not being able to accomplish all the items on my bucket list, but all the places I have visited in Italy have exceeded my expectations. Sometimes, I might come back from weekends complaining from exhaustion, but deep down I know that the memories I have made along the way are far worth the temporary drainage I might feel. With that being said, the biggest lesson I have learned along this journey is that giving myself physical and mental health breaks is crucial for success in a foreign country. Taking time to breathe and self-reflect when needed has eased my nerves and homesickness significantly. 

Some days I repeatedly say to myself “I cannot wait to go home,” but I know that as soon as I step foot out of Ariccia, I am going to instantly have withdrawals. I am going to miss so many memories, from as simple as cooking dinner in the palace to our long walking tours with Ettore, our tour guide. As time is quickly coming to an end, I am trying to soak in the last few weeks’ worth of memories by saying yes more to the spontaneous adventures with these spectacular girls. By doing this, when I blink on the last day I will feel completely fulfilled. 

Much Love,

Carlee Amberson

This will always be one of my favorite memories. This day was the very first time I explored all around Rome to complete the Rome Scavenger Hunt!