I’m now in the last two weeks of my semester in Rome, and what a feeling it is. To say I’ve lived in Rome for 100 days is definitely an accomplishment worthy of putting on my gravestone. It’s in these last days here I am beginning to reflect on how crazy a place Rome has been.
Like many on this trip with me, my 100 days have been filled with endless travel, far too many “what in the world is this place” moments, and strange adult firsts. Reflecting on the 160+ hours I’ve put into my internship, I can’t even begin to understand how I’ve done it all. Eleven weeks of working at a radio station, that’s something I never thought I’d be able to say I’ve done. It’s in this time I am like “wow, go Bridget,” because working in an Italian environment and creating content for radio is not an easy task. In any internship abroad, you certainly have to pat yourself on the back at the end of the day.
There were days when I really did not want to go into my internship, days I procrastinated making content for my weekly show, and days I decided to give up on everything and wing it. These are all feelings I’m very accustomed to as a college student, of course, but having to put on my big girl pants and tough it out for the sake of a job was something completely different. Believe me when I tell you interning abroad is the most insane, terrifying, and amazing experience you’ll ever have. Not only is it killer for your resume, but it changes you as a person.
For me personally, it’s made me realize I’m capable of far more than I originally thought I was. After interning in an Italian workplace, I felt like I could take on the world. I traveled to five different countries alone with my new found independence and confidence during my fall break because I felt so liberated. Really, I can’t tell you how wild it is. Not that an Italian workplace is a monster to wrangle, but getting through the layers of culture shock, language barriers, and collaborating with complete strangers is something to sit back and marvel at. It’s a dose of adulthood and reality that, looking back three months ago, I so was not prepared for. But that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Throw a cat, and it will eventually land on its feet.
It’s in the visible things that you can measure your experience in, like the amount of new international Facebook friends you’ve accumulated, or the endless photos and souvenirs from your adventures, that will make you see the impact of your time abroad. But it’s also in the things you’ll only realize when confronted with a new situation, like when you’re in class and know the answer to a question because of a random conversation you had with a stranger on a bridge in Copenhagen; or when you’re in the grocery store and see someone buying olive oil bottled in a clear container and you know they’re buying poor quality olive oil so you laugh to yourself.
Regardless of if you're madly in love with everything about your study abroad and internship experience, or are counting down the minutes until you reach American soil, your experience will forever leave its influence. So to those of you who are studying abroad well, cherish your last days. To those of you soon-to-be study abroaders, bring a cape, because at the end of your experience you’ll feel like a superhero.