Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Before embarking on a semester abroad, the entire process seemed nothing shy of exciting. Studying abroad promised new experiences and the opportunity to grow and learn in places straight out of postcards. These prospects still hold true, but like anything, they are playing out in unexpected ways. Settling down in a new place has been a balancing act in embracing a routine filled with uncertainties.
At first glance, five months seems like a long time. However I am quickly learning that while the pace of life is slower, the pace of my semester is fast. I have already been living and learning in Italy for two months and traveled to three other countries during that time. I know my way around Florence and can successfully navigate grocery stores and ordering food (especially gelato). I’m not sure how contrasting I expected my life abroad to be, but I’m settling into a routine that is seemingly normal. Stepping off the plane and into life in Italy feels like ages ago.
I live in an apartment, attend class, and hang out with friends-- all things I do in the United States. I have found myself used to the uneven cobblestone streets and seeing the Duomo on my walks to class. Even so, everyday in Florence (quite literally) keeps me on my toes and forces me to stare up in awe of my surroundings no matter how routine they have become. I am realizing this juxtaposition is what makes studying abroad so exciting. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I have to remind myself that although these experiences seem casual now, they are anything but.
I am not just in Italy, or the Czech Republic, or Austria, or Slovakia. The fact that I find myself in these places seems normal considering my position of being in a study abroad program, but each place has also put a smile on my face and made me feel like a little kid at Disney World. With so many sights to see, foods to taste, and memories to be made, I think it’s impossible to fully settle during this five month chapter abroad. I may be settled into Italy, but I refuse to settle into thinking of this experience as anything other than extraordinary.