It’s day one, and I’m already overwhelmed by the beauty of Italy. After an 8-hour flight, I was dreading the drive to Perugia—all I wanted was a hot shower and a bed, and it didn’t even have to be comfortable. Little did I know that a drive through the countryside was the perfect way to start my journey. I couldn’t resist gasping at the simplicity of the rolling hills and tiny towns sprawled across the mountains, knowing all the while that one of those tiny towns was soon going to be my home for the next four months.
Once I made the decision to study in Perugia and began telling friends and family, everyone kept telling me that I would come back a different person and that my experiences and studies abroad would shape me into someone I wouldn’t recognize. At first, that thought was ridiculous, how can four months change who I am? I realize now that they are completely right; and that’s just within the first day of being here. This new sense of independence and responsibility is incredible, and I can already begin to see the person I’ll become at the end of the semester.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be the minority in a majority-Italian classroom. As a Direct Enrollment student, I signed up to take classes taught completely in Italian through the Universitá degli Studi di Perugia, UniPG for short. I hope to take courses, mainly in the Education department, and I look forward to learning about the Italian education system and pedagogical style. My goal at the end of the semester is to have a better understanding of the Italian university-town culture, a greater command of the language, and overall a greater sense of the UniPG student way of life.
Though I still find myself worrying about the outcome of my semester, I’ve found that journaling is helping me sift through the many (many) feelings I have about being away from everything and everyone I know. I’m so excited to be in Perugia and can’t wait to get to know the ins and outs of the city!