Through study abroad I was able to achieve things I was not sure would ever happen. I went on a plane and traveled to a new country, both for the first time, and I made life-long friendships with individuals I would have otherwise never met. I did all of this through a week-long faculty-led trip. I chose to use this study abroad because, being a pre-med major about to graduate, a summer, semester, or year long trip were all unattainable for me. I was also drawn to this trip because I would have a whole class of students with me and a professor to help me avoid feeling alone.

I went to Rome, Italy for my study abroad trip and I am so happy that I did. We had an amazing guide who knew so much information that he showed us the major landmarks but also small little things only a local would know about. I now feel that a guided tour of Rome may be the only way to fully ingest the culture and all the sights.

There were so many amazing moments from my trip that I hope to never forget but my absolute favorite was the very beginning of our first full day. Our guide led us onto the underground, none of us speak Italian, and we had no idea where we were going. We get off at one of the stops and he leads us up through the stairwell and we walk out, and the Colosseum is right in front of us. A historical landmark that has been standing longer than America has even existed and that I have been learning about since elementary school. I was blown away at the beauty and wonder of the building still standing in front of me. I hope every student who studies abroad can have one of those moments because there is absolutely nothing like it.

There are many other small moments that stand out through out my trip as well. They are all moments that showed me what I am capable of and that I still have so much to learn about myself. In a week I was able to learn the underground system, learn a small amount of Italian, and try a new food item every day, no matter how gross it may have sounded, and, not surprisingly, it was all delicious. Lastly, I was able to learn how to navigate my way around a city that seemed so huge and daunting when I arrived.

I am still in awe of the many sights I was able to see in a week and about the person I was able to become while abroad. The ability of the human mind to adapt and survive is indescribable. I would have never thought before I left I would be able to accomplish so much and now I can not wait to travel somewhere new.

Lauren Sutton is majoring in Biology (pre-professional) and spent Spring Break 2019 in Rome, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip for a Classics 1200 course. Lauren had the following to say about studying abroad, ‚ÄúThis is a life-changing experience. You not only learn about the world through another cultures eyes. You also learn about yourself and what you can accomplish.”

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