Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Arcadia Summer Summer Abroad


June 6, 2017
By Callie Jensen, Italian Language and Culture in Florence, Italy

I am currently sitting on my flight across “The Pond” and into Europe for the first time EVER as I write this. The flight attendants welcomed me with a complimentary glass of red wine (P.S. I love you already Europeans). Knowing myself, there’s a 100% guarantee that I forgot at least five things even after checking all of my bags about a hundred times. I don’t think that it truly hit me that I was actually leaving for this adventure until my dad gave me one last hug (slipped me a quick $20) and left me standing in line to check-in my luggage by myself. It is both scary and exciting to think that for the next several weeks I will be in an entirely new continent all by myself… no longer a quick 30-minute drive away from ANYONE or ANYTHING that I know and am comfortable with, but hey like they say—‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’ and I am sure that this trip will prove that true.

Here’s a list of some of the things that cross my mind that I am most looking forward to:

  • Figuring out how to get around a foreign country (and hopefully countries) solo.
  • Experiencing different cultures which will inevitably begin to chip away at my egocentric view of the world (a sad phenomenon experienced by the majority of those native to the US).
  • Living life at a slower pace, which I’ve heard from many travelers before me, is one of the most notable differences between life abroad and life back in the states.
  • Meeting new people along the way and building friendships with both those in my program as well as peers native to Italy and the other countries I may venture to.
  • Getting lost and being OK with it (this usually ends up being better than one’s originally idealized plan and destination).
  • Having an open mind to trying and enjoying new and exotic foods (yes, even escargot).
  • Going off of the beaten trail and discovering my favorite spots inside hidden cafés, book stores, galleries and gardens.
  • Capturing the beautiful views I come across with my camera and translating them into awe-inspiring prints.
  • I really could keep on going and going but I am going to cut it off here because the list truly is endless.

The following list depicts some aspects that I am worried about while studying abroad:

  • Running out of funds to do everything that I want to do.
  • Getting lonely and missing friends/family from back home.
  • Not having enough time to do and see everything that I planned (This one isn’t so bad because I guess I will just have to come back again to visit :D).

Overall I am beaming with anticipation to embark on this journey and am grateful for all of the excitement and encouragement provided by those close to me, including the multiple ‘Bon Voyage’ wishes and texts. I cannot wait to keep updating this with all of my adventures and share my experience but for now I’m going to go back to sipping wine while reading my magazine. Ciao.

Pictured: The essentials—a camera to document all of the beautiful new sights, a book to read while I sip espresso in an eclectic café, an emergency 20 euros, a journal to write down my scattered thoughts, a new pair of sunnies and, most importantly, my passport which will make all of travels throughout the European Union possible.

Callie JensenCallie is a student at The Ohio State University and is blogging from her summer abroad on the Italian Language and Culture in Florence program, in Florence, Italy


Italy Summer