It is crazy to think that there are only 3 days and 5 finals between me and the start of my summer! Usually I am eagerly counting down to the start of summer for weeks, but this year it is definitely bittersweet. On one hand, I am so excited to see all of my friends and family, to eat the food I have been craving all semester (for me it has been American-style breakfasts and huge salads!), and to be able to speak the native language. On the other hand I am not ready for my European adventure to come to an end.
Over the past 3 months I have climbed a mountain, traveled to five different countries, tried to speak four different languages, learned how to make pasta and pizza like a local, and made friendships that will last a lifetime. This has honestly been such a surreal semester for me. The weeks have been packed full with classes, projects, company tours, seminars, and meetings, and then there’s the weekend! You know you are a CIMBA student when you find yourself saying things like “oh, I’m just going to Rome this weekend” or “I think I will just have a low-key weekend in Paderno for once, maybe a day-trip to Verona on Saturday and climbing Mount Grappa on Sunday.” I know that it sounds crazy, but this has been my life for the last three months and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity!
I have learned more about myself this semester than I have my whole college career. One of the things that I have learned is how independent I can be. Three months ago I left everything that I knew back in the Midwest and flew roughly 5,000 miles to live in a small Italian town that I had never heard of and where I knew nobody. I have to say that it was one of the scariest things that I have ever done! Within a week I had gotten to know people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. Another major thing that I learned is that the only thing that really holds me back, is me. It sounds simple and even cliché, but through the programs LIFE and LEAP I have broken down barriers that have been a part of me for as long as I can remember. One very small example of this is that I have always considered myself to be very “directionally challenged.” I am embarrassed to admit that I have even gotten lost driving through my hometown! Through working with my LEAP coach this semester I decided to challenge myself. What better way than to be responsible for navigating my group through Paris, Barcelona, and Ibiza during my second travel week? I told my group that I would take responsibility for figuring out all of the transportation and for navigating. I am proud to announce that not only did we not get lost a single time, but I am confident that I can go to any major city (even if they don’t speak English) and figure out the metro system! I will never again use the crutch of the label “directionally challenged.”
So now as the semester comes to an end, my days are filled with studying for finals, finishing projects, and attempting to fit everything back into my suitcase, it’s hard to think about leaving here. This has been the most incredible three months of my life and I owe such a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who was a part of it! While I am very excited to get back to Minnesota, I know that when I finally add my last picture to Facebook, it will be hard not to get a little emotional. I am definitely going to miss my crazy Italian adventure! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from my trip: