Making Myself at Home

When I signed up for the JSB Auburn Abroad Program my freshman year of college, I had no idea what was in store for me. All I could think of were the sights I would get to see or the places I would get to travel to, but I did not account for the growth I would experience during my time abroad. I did not account for the independence and confidence I would gain, and most importantly, I did not account for all the change I would encounter, externally and internally.

In late January this year, I took a leap of faith and traveled to Italy with a group of strangers and having not a single bit of international experience. For most of my life, I have found myself in situations that I am comfortable in, surrounded by my best friends and family and always feeling like I had a little piece of home with me wherever I went. However, when my plane landed in Rome and I found myself in a foreign country with people I have never met, I had an overwhelming feeling that home was a lot further away than it has ever been. Little did I know that home was not a particular place, person, or belonging, but rather, home is this special kind of feeling in the most peculiar moments of my life.  

Essentially, my experience thus far with the JSB Program has taught me how to be comfortable in the most unusual situations. Here I am, week 6, looking back on our field trips to the ancient ruins of Rome, the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the moment I got to try pizza in Naples. Here I am reminiscing on my personal weekend travels to Carnival in Venice, skiing in the Italian Alps, and experiencing fashion week in Milan. And somehow, during it all, I have still managed to make myself at home. Because like I said, home is this special kind of feeling: a feeling of content wherever I go. It is knowing that no matter where I am in the world or who I am with, I can look around me and appreciate life for what it is and how it comes.

Elizabeth Langner

This photo was taken in San Gimignano; a quaint, unique town of Tuscany. I had that feeling of “home” that I spoke of in my writing above.