Exactly two weeks ago I was far, far away in a foreign country with no cars, that was surrounded by water, had countless pigeons, gorgeous canals, and endless amounts of gelato. I was living the dream in Venice, Italy.
Ever since I got into college, I dreamed and hoped to study abroad for a semester in Italy. I hadn't decided specifically where, but I just knew that I wanted to be in that boot-shaped country. However, after the first semester of my sophomore year, I became uncertain as to whether I could be abroad for a whole semester. I was already living in South Korea for half of the year during my summer and winter breaks, and I couldn't imagine being away from BC for that long. I also didn't know if it would be a good idea for me as an Elementary Education major who has to take 3 Pre-Practicums (teaching in the field) and a Full-Practicum. If I had decided to study abroad for a whole semester, I would be working in my practicum until I graduated and I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that. So, I started looking into my options during the summer.
I had not completed my fine arts core, and as if it was meant to be, I found a BC art class that was taking place in Venice, Italy. As lame as this sounds, I had wanted to go to Venice since I was in the fourth grade, when my parents thought it was a wise idea to take a family vacation in Las Vegas. While we were there, we visited the Venetian hotel and I thought that if Venice looked half as awesome as the hotel did, I’d love to go some day. Fast-forward to May 31st, 2013: I was standing in the middle of St. Mark’s square, looking at the REAL bell-tower, while lugging my suitcase over numerous bridges in order to get to my water-bus stop.
It still feels like a dream that I lived on an island called San Servolo off of the mainland of Venice, that I sat in museums and churches for 4 or more hours to draw works of art by famous Italian artists, that I had a scoop of gelato everyday, that I traveled to Verona, Florence, and even Barcelona, Spain, and that I became friends with 11 other amazing BC students.
I can’t speak for anyone who studied abroad for a semester, and especially for those who lived abroad for a whole year, but if I feel this blessed and this much in love with a place, culture, and people after being abroad for ONE month, I can’t imagine how great it would be for those who are abroad for much longer. Although, Rob Rossi ’13 did give some insight in his darn good article about why a semester abroad is life changing.
For most of us, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in a different country without worrying about having a job, or looking for a place to live, or getting a residential permit. It’s a time where we can forget about the burdens of adulthood (like paying rent or having a job), but experience a completely different culture, eat foods you would've never imagined eating, meet people from all over the world, and come back with a larger perspective on the world: that there’s so much more to life than what you’re experiencing now (oh gosh, that sounded terribly cheesy).
If you’re happy as a clam with the life that you’re living right now, that’s great! I can’t force you to go abroad and I definitely won’t judge you for not going abroad. The reasons I went abroad during the summer was because I wanted to fulfill my fine arts core in a cool way, I wanted to go to Europe (somewhere I had never been before), I didn’t want to be abroad for a whole semester because I would get homesick, and because I wanted to meet new people. Those were MY reasons, and you may not feel the urge to go abroad because you disagree with me, or for countless other reasons. Although...you may regret not taking the opportunity to do so.
All I’m saying is that despite how obnoxious I sound whenever I say, “When I was in Venice....” and despite my loss of love for pizza and pasta, going abroad was the best thing I could’ve done, and it could be one of the most life changing things you could ever do.