I cannot believe I have already been in Venice for over two months! I have adjusted to the six hour time difference, being away from my family and asking for the boat instead of the bus. I honestly have surprised myself with how well I have adjusted to the abroad life. The first week was hard but I threw myself into researching what classes to take, meeting new friends and planning trips. So far I have been to five countries other than Italy (Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain and England). Everyone told me how easy it was to travel within Europe, but I never realized it would be this easy!
The classes I decided to take line up perfectly with my desire to travel. I’m taking Great Works of Art Revisited and have never found art so interesting. Did you know the Mona Lisa was stolen? Or that doctors thought she smiled that way because she only had half a brain? I had the opportunity to learn about the Mona Lisa in class and then the next week I was in Paris actually looking at her “in person”.
One thing different then BC (other than the fact that I take a boat to school) is that we have a fall break. During the fall break I was fortunate enough to have my parents, aunt and uncle come over and visit me. We went to a small town four hours from Venice called Cigliano and we met my (very distant) Italian family! I was able to see where my great-grandmother was born and grew up. The family treated us to a traditional eight course Italian meal. The food kept coming! I am proud to say I tried every dish including cow brain. It was an incredible experience to meet these family members and learn more about where I came from. It has definitely been one of my favorite abroad moments so far.
While being abroad I feel like I have also seen history up close. During my trip to Germany, my train got rerouted due to closed borders because of the refugee crisis. I saw refugees at the border being turned away. It broke my heart to see a family turned away with nowhere to go. Experiencing the crisis in that moment resonated with me more than any textbook readings ever could have. Another moment where I experienced history was in Rome at the Vatican. I was fortunate enough to hear the pope speak, and just as importantly got a “selfie” with him! He was extremely gracious and traveled around the audience first and stopped to kiss every baby.
While there are moments (like Halloween and the Red Bandana football game) where I wish I was at BC, I know I have made one of the greatest decisions of my life. In these two months I have already seen myself grow and become a more independent person. I’ve seen more places then I could have ever imagined and I still have more trips planned!
Me with my Italian family in Cigliano