Anyone can agree that the study abroad experience is one of the most exciting things that a young adult can participate in. The week before we departed for Italy, I remember conversing with my mom about the schedule for the first week. She asked me “So what is your first field trip and how soon is it?” I responded quickly and enthusiastically with “We get to go to Rome the first week!” I talked her ear off about all of the shopping and monuments we were going to see, building my anticipation for the next twelve weeks. Days pass and we get introduced to the first field trip taking place on Friday of week one, and we are going to Rome! Everyone sets their alarms for daybreak, plans their outfits, and heads to sleep. Now, at this point in the story I ideally would have made it to Rome, accomplished some sightseeing, and shopped a little, but my weekend took a turn. Food poisoning, on the first weekend. Now initially, I had a negative outlook on all of this. Almost in tears, naturally, because everyone is going to go enjoy themselves while the three of us are stuck inside the Chigi Palace feeling extremely sick. It was at this pit moment in my week that the most beautiful snowfall began, and from my bed upstairs looking out on the grounds of the Chigi Palace I realized what that day may have taught me.
I am still bummed that I did not get to participate in the trip but there was something to take from that situation. I was so anxious, overwhelmed, and excited about the field trip that I never stopped to consider what realities could occur so quickly. When embarking on a study abroad for this long, everyone tends to forget the things that impact you. I was planning trips left and right, ready to see as much of the world as I could, setting these massive expectations for what I was going to do. The point of my story is not to make people scared of eating, or planning trips but to put this experience from my perspective. The reality is that we only have twelve weeks, and it is important to relax and allow yourself to take in every meal, conversation, or sunset you see no matter where you are because you may just be stuck in bed the next day.