8 Things I Miss About Studying Abroad
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8 Things I Miss About Studying Abroad

A lot of students, myself included, were sent home from our trips just one year ago, and I know we all miss it so much!

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8 Things I Miss About Studying Abroad

I have been lucky enough to have had two experiences studying abroad, but was unlucky because last spring, halfway through the best semester of my life, my friends and I were sent home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking back on that experience, which was almost a year ago today, I remember the things I loved most about my times abroad. If you plan on studying abroad when you're able to, use this list as a reference for the things you need to cherish and hold onto the most while you're abroad, wherever you choose to go.

Food

I studied abroad in Italy, and I mean, COME ON! Who wouldn't miss having or making authentic Italian food for breakfast, lunch and din─ excuse me, colazione, pranzo, e cena! You can't look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn't miss having pasta, pizza, and all the carbs your heart desired without any of the guilt, because you walk so much that it keeps off the weight!

Cheap travel

This comes from my own personal stories, as well as stories from people I know who studied abroad in other European countries, as well as countries in Asia. Getting around is so cheap! Of course, it's expensive to get there from the States, but once you're there, hopping on a train, or even a plane, to another country can be done easily under $100, round trip.

Culture

Immersion is SO real! When you travel abroad, you're fully immersing yourself into a new country, culture, and language, and everything that comes with that. In my experience, the atmosphere in Italy is heavily influenced by the Italians' cultural norms and religion. Catholicism obviously has a heavy presence in Italy, and this totally affects the way the Italian people behave and dress. The Italians have a concept called "la bella figura" or "good figure". This basically means that the way you dress and present yourself is extremely important, because Italians value proper decorum at all times. Some of these rules mean that you will never catch an Italian outside with wet hair after a shower, wearing sandals when they're not at the beach, or donning sweatpants or leggings outside of the gym.

Museums

Not everybody is going to agree with me on this, and that's fine, but I will die on this hill because I live for all kinds of museums! Even before taking an Art History class, I have always been drawn to art in all forms. I could honestly spend an entire day in any given museum if I could, just wandering silently, appreciating and taking in each painting, sculpture, statue, and artifact. It's our world's history on display, and an amazing way to learn about a country's culture and history!

Language

In addition to having studied abroad twice, I'm also an Italian minor (no one is surprised) and a Global & International Studies minor, which literally means I love language and culture so much that I decided to study it in school. I had never taken Italian before starting college, and in the four years that I've been here, I've become professionally proficient! I love Italian, and I use it any chance I get, whether that's practicing with my mom on the phone, teaching a friend, setting my phone's language to Italian, or just staying refreshed with Duolingo on my phone!

People

The people you meet abroad are not like any people you'll ever meet at home. Their lives, as similar as they might be on the surface to your own, are still dramatically different because of where they live, the language they speak, the way they were raised, and the culture they live in. Their values are influenced by their culture, just like ours are. They have interesting stories to tell about their experiences, just like we would to them, because the way we live, even if our countries speak the same language, is still so different!

Art & Architecture

There is so much more art and architecture to appreciate than what you can find in a museum. The buildings in the cities you visit, the statues, fountains, churches, and even bell towers that I saw on my trips abroad are all part of the artistry and environment of where you travel. In Italy, you can visit a town like Florence and see buildings and sculptures from the Renaissance on your morning walk to get a coffee. Don't take these things for granted. Walk around, take them all in. They are breathtaking, so savor and enjoy every moment you can when you're there, because it's moments like those that you'll remember when you leave!

Wanderlust

The endless destinations at your fingertips. The feeling that the world is at your feet, and everything is at your fingertips. You're totally free and independent, probably for the first time in your adult life. The longing for that feeling is wanderlust. I have always had a passion for traveling, but after my trips abroad, my desire for travel has only continued to grow.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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