I traveled to Italy this summer for 5 weeks. I was scared and nervous to travel that far away alone and didn't know what to expect. I almost chickened out because how weird would it be to be thousands of miles away from home not knowing the language without knowing any of the people around you. Looking back on it I am so glad I went through with it because it was hands down one of the best decisions I ever made.
I got to see some of the most famous places in the world. I saw beautiful places, ate amazing food, talked to different people, and learned more than I have ever learned in my life about different subjects and about myself. There were so many different things about traveling abroad that I could talk about and that were amazing. I am a walking talking advertisement for study abroad.
However if someone asked me what was the best thing about studying abroad I wouldn't say riding a gondola through the streets of water in Venice, sitting on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, or throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Not that those things weren't incredible and life-changing cause they were. I would instead tell you about the people that I studied abroad with.
I met people that have been at my same university that I never would've met otherwise. I traveled to Italy with 25 other students from my school. The chances of me meeting these people or better yet becoming friends with these people outside of this study abroad program would have been slim to none. Thankfully I did get to meet these people though and even better I got to become close with these people.
I won't lie and say I see all 25 of the students often or even that I loved every single of them. I did however share the best trip and summer of my life with these people which does affect how you feel about them. I may see some of them only once a semester just passing them walking to class or see each other at a football game or run into each other at a party but I will always be comfortable enough to go say hi and catch up and find out how they're doing now.
There was also the people that I do see often. There was multiple people that I talk to way more often. A group that I care very deeply about and love to get together with them as often as possible and find out how they're doing. They are some of my best friends whether we see each other once a week or once a month or even less than that because of the trip that we went on together.
Traveling that far from home, learning and seeing all that we saw together, all of those things can forge friendships a lot faster and a lot stronger than I thought possible.
I will always cherish my memories from Italy for the rest of my life, but I don't just get to cherish the memories I made there but I get to cherish the memories I will continue to make with the people that I met there.