Studying abroad is an experience that students keep with them for the rest of their lives. This week, as the end of the semester is rapidly approaching, we asked our UG Bloggers to talk about what they will miss most about living abroad. Read on to hear from Emily, Hannah, and Leah!
Emily Peiffer: Physical Theatre (Coastal Carolina University, SC)
THE ABROAD EXPERIENCE: TRULY AN EXPERIENCE
Being abroad has been the most challenging, yet rewarding experience I have had thus far. I have never dealt with so many new experiences thrown at me at once and it was overwhelming at some points. I have never dealt with homesickness before—ever. I have never been a “home-body” and always liked to be away from home. Not because of my family since we are all very close, but simply because I like seeing new places and new people. Being abroad here was the first time I have actually been homesick, and that was a completely new and weird sensation I never had to deal with before. However, the classes here have been the most rewarding experience. I was constantly encouraged to dive deeper into the work with the support of the caring faculty. I have done things with my body and voice I never thought I could. I was able to explore deeply the work at my own rate, not forcing anything to happen. That is what I will miss most about being abroad. I will miss being encouraged to push myself but only so far as was comfortable and having no pressure to meet an expectation or to make something happen quickly just so that the next lesson can be accomplished. I could be the artist I wanted to be not the artist someone told me to be. I will be forever grateful for this experience and will hold it close to my heart forever.
Hannah Donoghue: Physical Theatre (Muhlenberg College, PA)
AH! I can’t believe that we only have two weeks left. This experience has been incredible. I have learned so much while I am here. I have learned what my body is capable, and the freedom my voice can have. Those are only two of many. The community here is unlike anything I have ever experienced. When I first got here I was a bit worried. I had never lived with the same 32 people for so long in such a small space. On top of the we were eating together, taking classes together, rehearsing together. However, it turned out to be amazing. The closeness we found and the support I received from everyone here was exactly what I needed.
While all of this is important to me and I will miss it when I leave, there is one thing I didn’t even know I would find which I am most apprehensive to leave. This is the space I have to create. I have been challenged in all of my classes to create something. Whatever I want and whatever I need to say with it. When I first started I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do. I put so much pressure on myself for it to be perfect. However, now I love it. While it does not necessarily come easily, it comes. After working on it, getting input from teachers and other students, it turns into something incredible. Seeing a piece you have created completely from your own imagination, is unlike anything else. It is revealing and freeing. I’m not sure that this space is as readily available back home. It is the thing I am most grateful to have found here, but it is also the thing I am worried I may have to leave behind.
Leah Krokowski: Dance (Colorado State University, CO)
I cannot put into words just how much my time in Italy has changed me. As if my traveling throughout the month before I came here hadn’t already made me an entirely different person, I simply continued that immense change on a whole new level during this program. I’ll try to break it down to a few things.
#1) I am now okay to not be okay. I can accept shitty things that happen to me, because they make me stronger, smarter, and more equipped to tackle difficult moments. I’ve almost missed multiple trains, I’ve gotten lost by myself in a few different countries, I’ve been without a smartphone for weeks, stayed in the homes of many strangers, lost a few personal possessions, encountered strange and scary people, as well as lovely and selfless people… All of this and more has taught me to stay in the moments that make us most human– even/ especially when those moments so happen to suck. You can cry when it rains, but no one will see your tears. Smile. And feel its texture on your skin.
#2) I view the world in a new way. I don’t approach it with as much fear as I used to. I’m willing to reason more with those who are different from me. I recognize my worth as an American, and am no longer ashamed to be one. I see the stupidity in money, and can find value in relationships, time, and experiences.
#3) I’ve found a new love for my education. Even though I’m changing my major when I return home, I am greatly enjoying myself and my time here… meniscus tear and all. Being at the Accademia has caused me to become inspired by people again– to really give people a chance before I assume the worst.
With this, #4) I no longer expect people to just act a certain way. I don’t become frustrated if people don’t like me or don’t want to talk to me, or just simply don’t understand me. I usually don’t understand people, so who am I to judge?
In conclusion of all of this, I have to say that I have no idea what I will miss. I could miss every cappuccino I’ve ever had here, or even the damn hike up the hill back to the villa. I could say that I’ll miss nothing, or that I’ll miss everything… but I have no way of knowing, because I’m not in that moment yet. I’m in this one…typing up my blog post four hours late, and planning a night out into town on a Monday night. Here’s to the last few weeks I have left in one of the most beautiful places in the world.