Hey, readers! It's been a short while, but we're back and better than ever... After fall break, it took awhile for the semester to pick up again. I'm (a little) well-rested following a long weekend over All Saints Day, although I just spent quite the eventful weekend in Paris. I'm ready to tackle more traveling, although I wish I had covered more places earlier in the semester! This post might be a bit different from the others, because I have some important advice to share with you future travelers as my own semester slowly draws to a close.
I have four weeks left. Just four! It feels like only yesterday I came to Perugia for the first time, although simultaneously it feels like I've been here forever. I can barely remember what it was like to not know how to navigate the city, how to travel to and from Rome, where to catch a bus. The time absolutely flies-- or as the Italians say, "come vola il tempo!" I find myself cramming in extra trips, last-minute lunch dates with my study abroad friends, racking up promises to stay in touch. It hurts, knowing so little time is left, but at the same time I'm very excited to be home. I think I could be back for about two weeks, hug my family, and fly right back to Perugia for another semester. I'm stuck reminiscing on the past few months before I've even gone home, when I should be still absorbing and making new memories!
I've planned two more trips in my last four weeks, both of which are out of the country, and I'm almost regretting it now. I wish I had divided my time more wisely and traveled more often during the first half of the semester, so I could spend my last month in the vicinity of Perugia. This city will hold a piece of my heart, forever and always. So what advice would I offer you, future travelers? I want you to know what I wish I'd known prior to coming abroad. First and foremost: explore your host country. This place will house you for four months, give or take. Love it or hate it, it will become part of you. I encourage you to embrace it fully, because studying abroad is an experience that will absolutely help you to grow as a person, and your country will stick with you, ingrained. Get to know the area, and save time at the end of the semester to appreciate just how it became your home-- besides, after four months of travel, language-learning, or whatever your endeavors are, you will be exhausted. You will not want to travel very much during the last month.
A pro-tip that goes hand-in-hand with the last: spread out your travel plans. Example: it is my last month in Perugia, but last weekend I went to Paris, and this weekend, I'm going to Budapest. I very much do not want to leave the country again so soon, because I could sleep for another week, and I realized just how quickly the clock is ticking on my time in Perugia. It took me awhile to adjust to traveling at the very beginning of the semester, so I took my sweet time... But I would advise leaving the country to travel prior to fall break. I absolutely was rocked by all of the jumping around I had planned-- I guess I was feeling ambitious when I was curled up on my bed!
Finally, build good relationships. The people you're with will become part of your study abroad memories, so if you can, avoid negative ones. We've only been together for four months, and it's likely that we won't be again. Everyone is here for the same reason, more or less-- just enjoy the ride!
I have more memories to make, places to see, and Perugina chocolate to eat... The semester isn't over yet!