Recently, I was accepted to study abroad to Italy via a program offered at my college, and I already know it's going to be one of the best decision I've ever made. I'm 19-years-old and have never been out of the country-I've never even left the east coast. I knew that despite my anxiety and despite being nervous about traveling and living in a new country for a whole semester, this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Having anything to look forward to has the ability to completely change your outlook on life. Before I decided that I wanted to go to Italy, I was just kind of going through the motions. I knew I wanted to get good grades and obtain my degree, but besides that, I had no other drive.

Getting accepted into my study abroad program and researching all of the amazing places I'm going to see in less than six months has reminded me of what I'm passionate about. Now, I find myself being even more driven to maintain my good grades and go to class because I feel like I have more defined goals.

After researching the culture of Italy and the language, I have considered an Italian-oriented minor. After my trip abroad, I know that I will be able to make that decision.

The joy that this trip has sparked in my life is huge despite me even obtaining my passport yet. I spend so much time searching for outfit ideas and fantasizing about where I will be in 6 months, doing yoga and visiting the most beautiful sites and taking amazing pictures of them (and all for college credit!)

I have also already started looking for summer jobs so that I can save up spending money, something I would have never done otherwise. During my summers, I like to relax and do not always work the hardest to find jobs during that time, but because of studying abroad, that's all changed.

I know that this new chapter of my life is going to be the most exciting one yet, and it hasn't even started. I encourage everyone to research study abroad programs offered at their college if they are even thinking it might be for them. It is simple to apply, there are many scholarships offered, and easier to get accepted than you may think!