Richard Slimbach, in his book Becoming World Wise, states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54). I think Slimbach is saying that while abroad we had an impact on the people around us but those people also had an impact on us. If we chose to allow ourselves to change when we are abroad, we can bring this new identity home with us and change others too. I do not think he is saying we should force our new ideologies onto people living at home, mainly because without the common experiences people wouldn’t change at all, but maybe some of the little things. One of the things I am going to start doing more is cooking, my mom has always been a great cook and being in such a food entwined culture I learned some things abroad. I am hoping to bring some of my knowledge back home and cook with my mom. I wont only bring home my slightly enhanced ability to cook pasta but ill bring home a new identity that is hopefully better because of my experiences abroad.
As my time within this dream that is study abroad comes to an end I have so much to be grateful for. The friends I have made, the places I have visited, and the new perspective I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Living in Perugia, the green heart of Italy, has been an experience I will treasure forever. The friends I have made during my semester abroad are speckled across the globe. I now have friends from Vermont to California, Moldova, and China too. I even left some friends in Perugia that I will hopefully visit again.
Saying goodbye to all of them will be hard because in our four months together we have all become so close. I plan to speak to a few of my friends directly and let them know how much of an impact they have had on. I also plan to try and keep in touch with my close friends until we are able to meet again. One thing we have already done is at dinners or at the bars we would go around the table and each share our favorite memories. This was always very tear jerking as the end was quickly approaching but it was also really nice to relive the great times.
I don’t think the fact that this is over will really hit me until I am on my plane and Italy is but a dot on the horizon. This is probably where I will reflect the most on the awesome adventures my new friends and I went on. From beers at Kosmos every Wednesday to playing basketball in the rain I made a lot of great friends that I will hopefully have forever. I even won a soccer tournament and was surprised with an engraved trophy for it so that team “Slim Jim” will forever be immortalized in Italy. I will also probably look back on some of the less fun memories with nostalgia. Like when my friend Nell and I got on the train which was heading the opposite way that we need to go, it was also the last train and we both had flights to catch. And possibly the worst weather weekend where it rained relentlessly in Padua. This was also the weekend where I was standing in the rain without an umbrella or raincoat thinking, “how could it get any worse?” when a car hit the puddle in front of me and I experienced something I only thought happened in movies. But even now writing about the bad memories is putting a smile on my face.