|Dreamy picture atop St. Peter's Dome to start the reflection|
I remember the day I left America like it was yesterday. I finished packing my suitcases minutes before we left for the airport and actually bought the bathing suits I would soon wear in Croatia that morning as well. Since I never went away to school and commute from home, when I hugged and kissed my parents goodbye and walked off through security alone, I finally felt like I was entering the adult world; I now had to look after myself. Such an exciting, yet terrifying feeling.
|One of the most beautiful, serene cities in the world: Amsterdam, The Netherlands|
Those feelings seemed to be the theme of the next week. It took me a little while, but Rome slowly began to feel like home. Little things, like finding my way back to my apartment if I took a different route home, being able to ask for things in Italian, or doing everyday things like going to the grocery store made me feel like I was doing okay. I’m not gonna lie, there were a few low points and homesickness set in at times, but I would not have traded this experience for the world!
|Wayyy up I feel blessed: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland|
What I was looking forward to most about studying abroad was traveling; it has always been a dream of mine to travel the world. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to a plethora of countries and cities. Some of the amazing places I’ve been able to experience include: Croatia, Germany, Barcelona, London, Ireland, and Amsterdam. I have also been able to trek around my host country (Italy, obviously) to places such as: Cinque Terre, Ostia Lido, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Tuscany, Venice, and Florence…three times. I absolutely love that city! I had plans to travel to Paris with my boyfriend as well, but because the attacks occurred a week before our trip, we decided that we would save Paris for another time.
|"Yeah yeah mom, I'm studying as we speak." London, England|
I am so grateful for all that I have been able to experience and the effect this three-month adventure has had on me. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like this experience has opened up my eyes and has made me see things through different perspectives. I feel I have gained a greater sense of independence and like I have clearer views of what I want to get out of this incredible life and how I want to live it. I have grown in more ways than one and I owe it all to this incredible experience I have gone through and the amazing people I have met along the way. Until next time Europe, ciao
|A Presto Italia!|
Courtney Blanchard is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a senior at Stockton University.
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