International Education

Thoughts From 20,000 Feet

There are a lot of things to think about when you're twenty-thousand feet in the air for the first time. 

Personally, I was reminded of one of the many reasons why I chose this time and occasion to begin traveling the world: I didn't want to go alone. The idea of being tossed into a strange environment with nothing but my wits and backpack is both exciting and nerve-wracking. As much of the world as I want to see, it's hard to feel confident about so many situations I've never been in before.

There's a lot to be said about having a group of peers with you to navigate the crowds of an airport and help interpret foreign signs. Being with other people, many of whom are in a similar position, can be a huge comfort. It feels less like you're facing the world alone. And when you're wowed by the wonders of the universe, there's someone to turn to and say "Can you believe this?!" 

There's also the added benefit of safety in numbers. As amazing as a foreign place can be, it's difficult to take in all of your surroundings while also trying to watch your own back. It helps to have people who are there for you and have a vested interest in making sure you stay safe. Which is why I decided that I wanted my first abroad experience to be with a group from my school. Since the early planning stages of this trip, I have been told that there are multiple people available to help if I ever need it while I'm in Italy. My Italian professor, who first introduced me to both the language and the program, is going to be the one to show us around and has played a large role in planning the program for many years. It is an immense comfort to have someone who is both so knowledgeable and familiar here with me. 

If there's anything I'm motivated to do after looking down at the clouds, it's to travel more. And I'm sure there will come a day when I feel worldly and experienced enough to tackle the airports, currency exchanges, foreign bus schedules, and everything else on my own. But until then, I can say that I'm a huge fan of study abroad programs and would recommend one for other first-timers like myself.