Home Away from Home

While walking through my freshman year orientation, the Apparel Merchandising Program made me aware of the JSB Study Abroad Program right off the bat. Knowing that an incredible journey was still three years away, I was hesitant to sign up, but I went for it. Fast forward three years, and I am here! I am in a country where I have never been, learning a new language, and making new friendships. The first day I arrived in my new home, Ariccia, I walked up to the brown-wooden-aged doors, and I stopped. I looked at the sign saying “Joseph S. Bruno, Auburn Abroad in Italy.” the exact words I had seen for the last three years, and I felt that I had just opened a new chapter and began writing my story in the book I call life. I am now across seas and ready to live the best three months.

During this time studying abroad, I have already learned so much in the three short, but fast, weeks that I have been here. The program gives us various opportunities to learn through the numerous day trips and classes. My favorite journey thus far was the mozzarella producer and the Royal Palace at Caserta. Going to a mozzarella producer was something I have never been able to do. Seeing the process firsthand, from the beginning of how they feed, raise, and milk the water buffalo to then eating the fresh, melt-in-your-mouth, buffalo mozzarella (made that morning!) was the best farm-to-table experience I have had.

I was then able to venture into the most stunning and grand palace in the world, located only two hours away from my own home at the Chigi Palace. I, physically, still cannot grasp how there are people that constructed a palace that has 1,200 rooms and covers around 500,000 square feet of land! The Caserta palace is a place I will truly never forget. While I have visited the most stunning locations, I have also indulged in cooking classes where I’ve been taught some traditional Italian dishes; my favorite being the Caprese Cake. My family is already excited to have me back to cook all the recipes I have learned and will be learning throughout my time here.

The JSB Program is an experience I know I will be learning and growing the most I have ever in my life. I also look forward to living in the moment and continuing to write the following chapters in my book of life. This is a time that I will always look back to and remember, and a part of my heart will always call Ariccia my home away from home.

Ciao!! (Bye)

Lexi Zielinski

Here is me (on the left) and Sydney with the stunning Royal Palace at Caserta in the back