How do you leave study abroad a changed person? Connor gets into the three important ways that shaped him after a semester in Florence. Through this growth, he has gained strides intellectually, socially, and on an individual and personal level.
With my time in Florence quickly coming to an end, I want to reflect on how studying abroad has helped shape my identity. To me, studying abroad is the fastest way to grow as a person. I have learned more in these last three-and-a-half months about myself and the world than I ever have before. Studying in Florence has forced me to grow as a person in a variety of ways.
1. You Learn Invaluable Life Lessons By Doing
Studying the Italian language together with a fellow student.
First, studying abroad has helped me to grow intellectually. I was able to take classes for my major, begin to learn a new language, and take an art class in the most historic art city in the world. All of these classes taught me new things constantly. Growing intellectually includes more than just classes, though. I have also been fortunate enough to travel to cities all around Italy such as Rome, Venice, Lucca, and Pisa. I also traveled to three other countries! For the first time in my life I had to plan my own trips, book my own plane tickets, all while going to totally new countries. These countries included France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. These trips led to some of the best moments of my life. I was able to meet new people, see new sights, and most importantly experience new cultures. Traveling all over while taking classes taught me more than what I could ever have hoped to have learned in a semester.
“Experience does for the soul what education does for the mind”—Casey Neistat
2. You Expand Your Network of Friends and Thereby Your Perspective
Traveling to the Netherlands with friends showed me a totally new culture.
Another way I grew in Florence was socially. I came to Florence knowing nobody. I had to step outside of my comfort zone to meet new people and make new friends. This was something totally new and slightly uncomfortable to me. However, it led to me meeting some of the best people I have ever met in my life and from all over the world. I also lived in an apartment with three other people and had to share a room. I am now constantly spending time and talking with my roommates. Since I've been here, I have become friends with people who are from Peru, Italy, and all across the United States. I know some of these people will become new lifelong friends, and I am excited for our paths to meet again after the program is over.
3. You Gain New Interests and Learn What You’re Capable Of.
Being abroad gave me peace and helped me find myself.
Finally, studying abroad has helped me to grow individually. This experience has been unlike any other thing I have ever done in my life before. I learned how to manage classes, travel, new friends, old friends, family, and so much more. I now realize how much I love seeing the world and being around new people. Not many 20-year-olds can say that they have lived in a different country or have seen four different countries in Europe. I have also picked up new interests and learned new hobbies since I've been here. I began to run, read, and meditate daily. Being abroad has helped to improve my mindfulness on a variety of levels.
The friends I met here gave me some of the best memories of my life!
These are just three very general ways I have grown over these last three months, but there are a variety of different ways people do grow while abroad. People can grow artistically, spiritually, or just grow in a specific skill. Everyone grows in their own ways while studying abroad.
Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Connor's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.