by Sarah Schwartz
Four weeks ago I was on my way to the airport with my mom. On the outside I made it seem like I was beyond excited, but in reality I was overwhelmed with nerves. It was the start of a new journey. I was going to be living in a foreign country with a bunch of people I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to expect and I was questioning whether or not I was going to have as much fun as Randy promised or if I was even going to make any new friends. I kept an open mind and as I waved my last good bye to my mom at the security gate, I knew I was in for an adventure! Now I am on the plane going back to the states and I am holding back my tears once again. As the plane took off to go to Dublin, all I had now was a birds eye view of Italy, the only thing I could think of is, “Until next time Italy.” I feel like I have been crying for the past few days because I didn’t want to leave. Saying goodbye to Randy at security, or you could say my second Dad, with the girls was the hardest part. I was leaving a country where they had the best gelato, oh and where I had one of the best summers of my life.
This past month has been more than amazing, I learned so much about a different culture and I even gained a new family along the way. We were all so unique yet shared the same passion of traveling, exploring and living life to the fullest. I feel like that interest is so important to have in life because you develop a curiousity to learn and see more of the world. I look back at the photos and everyone has this glow where you could tell they were genuinely happy in the moment. I would catch myself smiling randomly looking like a weirdo just because I was in a beautiful country, with people who made the experience ten times better. We explored from the northern to southern part of Italy and all of the little places in between. Hands down my favorite parts of the trip were the Amalfi Coast and Florence.
This trip was filled with unexpected twists and turns, but that is what made it so great. Who would have thought a study abroad trip to Italy with one layover in Ireland would turn into a trip where we ended up visiting four countries (France, Spain, Ireland, and of course Italy). This trip truly exceeded my expectations and I’m so grateful that we were able to see the amount of places we went to this past month. Not every study abroad program goes above and beyond but fortunately, Hofstra makes sure their students get to see the best. I would walk down four hallways to get to my room at St. John’s and I would feel extremely blessed each and every time because the other students would just be laying on their beds, not receiving the opportunity to explore everyday.
I just want to say thank you to our professors because without them, we would never have received this trip of a lifetime. Randy went above and beyond making sure we experienced and learned about the Italian culture and Professor Morosoff is an amazing teacher who is so passionate about public relations and made sure we are ready for the real world. I would also like to thank the organization Shoot4Change whom we were working with because we had the chance to see things the everyday public wouldn’t see regarding the earthquake that happened in L’ Aquila. Lastly, a huge thank you to my parents because without them I wouldn’t have been able to study abroad.