Growing up, I have always been surrounded by the Italian culture. My father was born and raised in Naples, Italy where he later met my mother. Because of this, I have spent countless summers in a small town called Monte Di Procida, proudly taking in my family’s traditions. However, I have remained wide-eyed behind my family, never taking the initiative to go beyond my comfort zone and become independent in my parents home country. My first step towards independence and growth was deciding to study abroad, more specifically, in Rome, Italy. Rome is an amazing city, filled with rich history and Italian culture in which I have always admired. I wanted to fully emerge in an area in which I am comforted by other Americans, but not blinded by their presence. Rome may be a tourist attraction, however, is not overwhelmingly flooding with American college students. There remains a strong native perspective, with Italian locals at my exposure. This was my ultimate deciding factor, falling in love with the idea of studying abroad in Rome.
My knowledge of traditional Rites of Passage theory will largely affect my study abroad experience. Previously, I was anxious to be able to get as many stamps in my passport as possible. I had high hopes to make the most out of my study abroad experience, which meant visiting as many countries as possible. Now, while this is still something I aim and look forward to, I see that it is much more. By allowing myself to fully separate from what I now know, including my identity prior to departure, I will be able to have a more in depth journey. After being exposed to the Rites of Passage theory, I am now anxious for entering liminality, a time of waiting and learning. I desire to fully unfold into the Italian culture, interacting with locals and not simply living as a tourist. St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. I am eager to dive further into the book I currently have hold of, and learn more on each page than I have ever expected or anticipated.