I chose to study abroad as it has always been a dream of mine for several reasons. I have always had the yearn to travel the world, especially Europe due to the tremendous amount of culture and history that is found there and pertinent to the world we live in. I have spoken to several people that have both studied abroad and who have not and I feel as though I always receive a similar answer; that if they did study abroad, it was the most revitalizing experience, and if they had not, that they wish they pushed their limits and partaken in this tremendous opportunity. Traveling abroad will permit me travel the world, which will allow me to grow culturally and more knowledgeable in regard to travel, independence, and the ability to manage my time and money. However, studying abroad will also allow me to really ‘begin’ to grasp what it is like to live and understand a culture other than my own. One can travel to another country for a week long vacation and say they felt their experience was so cultivating however in my opinion, I feel that one is not able to truly grasp a culture, without living there like a local. On account of this, I want to emerge myself into a new culture and really try to understand it by speaking, eating, and living each day like a local while I am in their city. I cannot think of a better place to do this than Florence, Italy. Florence is a place that offers history, food, a new language, art, among countless other elements that make it such a unique place. Yes, Florence is a very americanized and mainstream place in terms of travel as compared to some other cities in Europe or even Italy. However to me, Florence is sought after as the place to travel for a reason, because it does offer so much raw culture, beauty, and history. Particularly, the art and food really drew me to the city as those are two aspects of my life that I am very passionate about. Florence will offer me not only a new palate, but flavors that I know I will enjoy. Additionally, Florence is renown for art which I could not be more excited about. I am hoping to be able to take an art class while I am there and there is not a better place to inspire and educate me in that field.
I foresee my growing knowledge of the traditional Rites of Passage theory to affect my study abroad experience as it will push me to really reflect on my experiences. Even prior to emerging myself in a new situation, it will impel me to to think about how I can use this experience to help further and push myself to new limits.
A quote that really inspires my travel abroad experience was vocalized by Mark Twain who said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. discover”. Twain’s remark is so pertinent to the experience I hope to have and more importantly, the life I hope to live. We only live once, and we are only as young and naive as we will ever be. I want to be able to grow more knowledgeable and independent due to numerous unique experiences rather than by living each day over and over only to have a unique experiences on occasion. Studying abroad will allow me to incorporate and grow from rich experiences at a time in my life that could not be more vital towards the person I become. No matter how old one is, as long as they follow the equation of ROP successfully, they can grow as a person. However thankfully that I am young, I can take this growth and my experience and allow it to push me to emerge myself into more experiences that will act as a Rite of Passage in my life and this is something I could not look forward to more.