At times we live our lives at the pace of a constant run. A constant running from obligation to obligation only ever squeezing in a bit of time for family, friends and occasional hobby. On a study abroad most of that goes away. You don’t have to worry about work, school (in a traditional sense), or any of your normal baggage. It’s all left thousands of miles away, and you have only two real obligations: learning the language, and fully investing in the experience of your time abroad. For me it was the first time in a very long time that I have any free time to truly experience the moment at hand. I had to constantly remind myself of where I was, and what I had the opportunity to experience. I was in Italy, and once I could wrap my head around what that meant I was reminded to how truly amazing that was.
Remember the place:
I found myself constantly amazed when I considered the history of the place I was fortunate to spend five weeks of my summer. Sitting in the Piazza del Campo in Siena you become a where of all that has happened there. From the Palio that takes place every year, or generations of people that have become permeate fixtures reclining on its floor, you are made aware of all that’s surrounding facades have seen. The best part is that in some small way your presence make you a part of all that.
Remember the people:
When on a study abroad you are placed into a microcosm of the world that is already turning on its own little axis. This is a world full of its own people with their own stories, lives and customs, and your lucky enough to enter that (even if only for a small amount of time). It becomes a good practice to remind yourself that there are people that live their lives there everyday, and where it may not be your reality, it’s theirs.
Most of all, just remember:
Remember you time aboard. Take time to write things down, to transcribe your memories and add them to your own life story. You may not make a large mark on the city you temporarily call home, but that city will make a large mark on the history of your life.
Memories make up our personal histories, and the opportunity of a study aboard gives you the chance to add a whole new heap of things that should be remember to yours. Many places, like Siena, are so full of life and history you can help but honor the importance of it all, but don’t forget to take the time a reflect on the little stories that make up your personal history. And even once your homes take the time to remind yourself, “I was in Italy! And it was pretty amazing.”