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How I Found Myself While Studying Abroad

Oct 14, 2016 1:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

12733395_10153388033783663_4376276361303314707_n.jpgWords by Danielle Amaddeo, a George Mason University student who studied abroad in Florence during spring semester 2016.

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I knew from the moment that I signed up for study abroad that I was making a huge commitment. I knew that the journey that I was about to embark on would change me. But at the time I didn’t realize just how much it would affect my life forever. Before you go abroad, there’s nothing that can truly prepare you for the experience and my experience changed absolutely everything.

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The freedom to explore my host city was where I fell in love with something that I had always admired—writing. Writing was my hobby, yet nothing truly inspired me like Florence. Once I began to walk around the city and explore all of the hidden beauty surrounding me, the words began to pour out. I would sit by my window that overlooked the top of the church of Santo Spirito, and the stories would flow seamlessly from my fingers. I would observe everything around me and I wanted to document it all. I fell in love with my truest passion all over again and in the most inspiring way possible. There was no greater joy that I felt than when I was writing about all that I was experiencing. Today, I continue to write about my experience and I’m filled with nostalgic joy. 

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While in Florence, I created my own blog and began to take pictures and write about my experiences. All of which I did willingly and effortlessly. This really brought me to discover the part of myself that I hadn’t expressed before. I had written many stories, but I was always too afraid to publish them by fear of inadequacy. But Florence gave me an inexplicable confidence boost to publish my work. I shared all my articles on Facebook and eventually I landed two online writing jobs while abroad.

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Studying abroad pushed me so far out of my comfort zone to the point where I became stronger, and much more confident. I discovered that what I loved doing was good enough and my inspiration never ceased to energize me.

In addition to rediscovering my truest passion, I also learned how to cook for myself on a regular basis. I discovered that I have a true love of good food and I began to experiment daily with new recipes. The food in Florence is already spectacular, and I tried to recreate the best dishes in my apartment. I learned that cooking is an art that I want to perfect because it challenges and interests me—just like writing.

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I had classes Monday through Thursday (thank you, CAPA!) which left me with three day weekends. I decided to fill these up with as many travel opportunities as possible. I went to seven different countries in just four months. I saw some of the most exquisite museums and historical landmarks in the world. I documented all of my traveling and developed a love of photography in the process. I discovered that I have a passion for traveling and learning new aspects about cultures that aren’t visible at first glance. The more I traveled, the better global perspective I developed. This perspective made me realize that I will always be traveling and making new discoveries—it’s just who I am. 

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I found out who I really am in my travels abroad. My deepest passions revealed themselves and told me that I must pursue what makes me the most happy. I learned that the life I’ve been given would be nothing without my desire to learn more about the world. I discovered what I want to do with my future career and I gained the ambition to reach for the best possible future for myself. In the end, I learned that there is no greater pleasure than knowing what you want and being proud of what you do, and I owe it all to my CAPA study abroad experience.

Thanks Danielle!

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Topics: Study Abroad