by Morgan Barba
Studying abroad is one of the most gratifying and humbling experiences we college students can brave through. There isn’t a moment that goes by when we aren’t faced with challenges in communication, direction, classes, but the worst of all? Sometimes we miss American things, like…
- Walking at a normal (fast) pace.
- AIR CONDITIONING. For all you Fall abroad-ers, Florence is molto caldo in August, and I bet your apartments retain heat like no other.
- American food. Bagels, Cheetos, ranch dressing, peanut butter, french fries that aren’t served to you in a 1950s diner with a statue of Elvis in the front.
- Cars that aren’t mini. Where are the Suburbans? Hummers? Anyone?
- Cars that don’t actively try to maim you as you walk along the street.
- Wifi that actually works.
- Understanding measurement systems.
- Drinking your morning coffee “the American way”: to go.
- Streets that aren’t filled with urine at all times.
- Ice in your water. If you’re into that sorta thing.
- Dressing down (sweats in public) every once in a while.
- Being surrounded by locals who don’t dedicate their lives to selling you a selfie stick or bouquet of roses.
- Your own bed.
- Free bathrooms, free refills. ’Nuff said.
- Not lighting your wallet on fire for a four-month-long pyro-fest.
- Judging your commute to class based on how far away it is, and not how many tourist herds you’ll have to hurdle.
- American breakfast. Newsflash: croissants aren’t filling.
- Punctuality. Because meeting an Italian at 12 means maybe 12:30…or so.
- Sitting still. While la bella di niente (the art of doing nothing) is a big part of Italian culture, you hardly have time in those precious four months. Between cultural classes, exploring, weekend travel, and field trips, there isn’t much time to really relax. But your brain will thank you for it.
But every second of missing whatever it is you’ve missed is so completely worth it. Studying abroad is about trading in what you’re accustomed to and reaching for something more, something different. It’s about stretching your comfort zone and ultimately making you unstoppable. So, sure, sometimes you’ll miss Dairy Queen Blizzards so much it hurts, but you’ll gain a newfound affection for gelato.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.