I am overflowing with gratitude to be an alumni of CIEE’s Rome, Italy Open Campus program. I feel that my experiences studying abroad have supplemented my overall life experience with extremely valuable lessons in independence, community collaboration, cultural communication, and professional conduct. The adventures of studying abroad also provided me with enriching, beloved memories both with friends as well as in times of independence. The experience of travel mixed with study has enriched me with memories as well as life experience that deepen my well of raw creative material to draw from to continuously inspire me.
On-site classes provided the opportunity to learn the significance of things while physically being present with them, which supplemented an enhanced, hands-on, and engaging learning experience. Exploring a new city and communicating through cultural bounds of language and custom initiated patience, empathy, and self-development. While studying abroad, I also had opportunities on weekends for independent travel, which only supplemented my educational and cultural experiences even more positively. I was able to visit many cities around Italy using Italy’s train system. I was also able to take weekend trips to Budapest, Hungary and Berlin, Germany.
Studying abroad and the cultural immersion experience has influenced my lifestyle to be more meditative, grateful, and self-aware. Travelling itself is a meditation, whether by foot, car, boat, train, or plane. Watching the landscape pass by, whether that landscape is flowers we can smell, an ocean below the cliff, the sea below the cabin, the mountains from the valleys, or the mountains from the sky, allows us a chance for reflection as we move from place to place and pinpoint why we’re moving, what is allowing us to move, how the moving is benefitting us, and how the places we move between influence and inspire us.