7 Thoughts Every College Kid Has When They Study Abroad

7 Thoughts Every College Kid Has When They Study Abroad

How do I get back to my hotel if I can't even pronounce the name of it?
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Last week as I was walking around campus, I started seeing posters advertising information sessions about upcoming study abroad opportunities for the summer. Having had the opportunity to take part in a study abroad program last summer to fulfill credit for my communications elective, it brought back amazing memories of my time in Thessaloniki and Athens Greece where I got to spend 3 weeks learning about gender in film.

Studying abroad has easily been one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. Not only did I earn three of the most exciting, diverse, and enlightening college credits towards my degree, I also learned about traveling to and in a foreign country. That’s not something you learn in a textbook or by sitting behind a desk in a classroom. From meeting new people who quickly became some of my new best friends to participating in cultural experiences unlike anything I have ever done in the United States, it was an all-around rewarding and life changing experience that I highly recommend for all college students.

When you study abroad, at first it's all about being in a new country, visiting the sites in the area, trying foods and drinks, getting to know the people at the local establishments and the hotel, learning the currency, and really trying to immerse yourself in the culture and learn about the country you are visiting. But once the weeks start to pass by and the hype has gone down, some thoughts begin to run through your mind…

1. I miss $2 drink specials

2. What exactly am I eating?

3. DOES ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH?!

4. I really hope this ATM doesn't suck up my card...

5. I miss my bed and AC

6. How do I get back to my hotel if I can't even pronounce the name of it?

7. How will I ever thank my parents enough for sending me on this amazing experience?

As you start to contemplate your schedule for Spring and Summer session, consider studying abroad. I can guarantee it will be the best class you've ever taken and the experiences you encounter will not only enhance your college experience but provide you with memories that last a lifetime.

Cover Image Credit: Kylee Rossiter

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To Every Father Figure In My Life, Thank You

You didn't have to be who you are, but I'm grateful.
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Another Father's Day has come and gone. To some of us, it's less of a celebration of thanks and more of a salt on an open wound type of deal.

You see, some of us don't have a biological father to celebrate on fathers day. My dad passed away when I was very little, some people were abandoned by their fathers, so on and so forth. But that doesn't mean we don't have a few positive male role models in our lives.

So I want to say thank you to my father figures.

When my dad was no longer around, so many people in this community and throughout my life stepped up to keep an eye on me. Thank you for teaching me what I deserve. Thank you for teaching me how to be the best I can be. Thank you for teaching me kindness and humility. Thank you for wiping the dirt off my face when I fell down. Thank you for giving me a man to look up to and a hero.

It is important for you to know that you didn't have to do all you did for me, but I am forever grateful for the support. I wouldn't be the person I am today, or have the dreams I do or the motivation to accomplish them without you.

Nobody could ever replace my dad, but your support and love can be held in just as high if not higher regard.

So thanks again, for doing what you didn't have to do; being a step dad, a grandpa, or just a family friend, thank you for being my father figure.

Cover Image Credit: Dalle Rutledge

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9 Things I Miss About Florence Now That I'm Home

It's been a month since I left
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I've been home for about a month now and when I arrived back in SC I was so incredibly happy about being back and seeing familiar things are understanding what people were saying around me. Lately, I've been finding myself reminiscing about my semester abroad and I realized how many things I loved about Florence. While there are quite a few things I don't miss, like the constant smell of cigarette smoke and the rain, here are a few things I miss about Florence now that I've been back for a while.

1. My roommates

Maggie, Kate, and Rachel were the best roommates a gal could ask for! I tell people at home stories about you guys all the time (mostly when I have to explain doing Maggie's pasta making dance), which is weird because they don't know you at all. It's so wild that we went from living in our tiny apartment and seeing each other every day to being miles away from each other.

2. Being able to walk anywhere in the city

Charleston is kind of similar but not in the same way. In Florence, you're never more than 10 minutes away from anything you could ever need (except chick-fil-a) and I appreciated that.

3. Conad

"The Nad" as Kate would say. I went to this grocery store almost every single day, whether to buy stuff for dinner, just a pack of cookies, or a baguette on my way back from class. I loved Conad and I LOVED only spending 15 euro on groceries that held me over for a whole week.

4. Sitting on Ponte Alla Carraia with a cup of gelato in my hand

In my previous articles, I mentioned how I got gelato almost every single day. Well, the bridge by my apartment is where I would perch myself and enjoy some people watching, the sunset, and most importantly my gelato. I've inserted a picture from the last night I was there and everything was so incredibly golden.

5. Piazzale Michelangelo

A classic spot on any tourist itinerary but something that you should never skip seeing. The hike up there wasn't ideal but the view was wonderful.

6. Taking the train

I LOVE traveling by train. It was so convenient (well for me anyway) and so relaxing. I know people take the AMTRAK here but I don't so this was special for me.

7. Pizza

I don't want to be that bitch when I say that I don't think I will ever have the desire for American pizza ever again. Il Pizzaiolo has a little piece of my heart forever and I just can't eat Dominos anymore (well at least not yet).

8. Going to Zara every other day

I might have had a small shopping problem while abroad. Whenever I went out for a walk I would end up in one of the two Zaras that were only 5 minutes from my apartment. I couldn't be tamed. I don't have a Zara anywhere near me at home so I guess I'll have to settle for shopping online

9. All of the rat dogs

I didn't think I loved the truly tiny dogs but now I want like, 12.

There many more obvious things that I know I miss too, like the history and seeing the Duomo every day on my way class but these things just ring true today. I didn't think I would miss Florence already, but I kind of do.

Cover Image Credit: Ellinor Lindahl

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