On my last night in Sorrento at our farewell dinner, when we were all reflecting on our time and getting a few good laughs and bites of pasta before we had to leave, a girl from one of my classes spoke up and said “Madison has to be one of the unluckiest people I have ever met.” The short summary of my time abroad was that she was absolutely correct. Every flight I attempted to take got delayed, my phone broke twice, I got stranded in Barcelona, broke my nose at a beach club, was miserably sick for a week or so, and the list goes on and on. Not a day went by that I was not served some sort of curveball. And I would get back on the flight right now and do it all over again if I had the opportunity.
I was given a true once-in-a-lifetime chance. I stood in spots that many dream of their entire life. I traveled the Amalfi Coast by boat, saw The Weeknd in Barcelona, took a sunset cruise in Budapest, and ate the best meal of my life in Venice. More than that, I made friends for life, memories I will never forget, and learned more about myself than I could ever learn within a classroom. So while my luck may run a little short, my life has no shortage of opportunities I am beyond grateful for.
Regardless of the struggles I may have faced, I know several who think I struck gold. When I stood in front of the coast of Positano, I could not help but think of my grandmother. She never finished middle school, but her granddaughter would go on to travel south Italy studying her passion. I thought of my father, who started his small business when I was only child. As I was walking the streets of Budapest, I thought of him and all the hard work and dedication he put towards my education. I think of my mother and the hours she spent working a number of titles to afford every passion I ever wanted to pursue. From gymnastics to art classes to studying abroad and everything in between. For every person I exemplify by studying abroad, I stand for a number of generations before. In the eyes of my family, I am the luckiest person alive.
No matter your circumstance, if there is a will there is a way. If studying abroad is what you feel called to do, there is a reason and I challenge you to pursue it the same way I did in your shoes many months ago. Go and find yourself, your passions, and the person you were meant to be. Understand that you stand for many and think of those that will one day be proud to share your legacy. I’m not saying that it will be easy, but it will be worth it. May your luck be good and your strength be better. Ciao, and happy days!
Madison Glidewell (BS Secondary Education – Political Science) spent the Summer 2023 semester studying abroad in Sorrento, Italy through CIS Abroad. Madison had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad teaches you more than you will ever learn within a classroom. Pack light and start exploring!”
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