As many of you know, I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the fall semester of my junior year at Roanoke College. So, instead of getting on a plane and flying back to Salem, Virginia, I will be getting on a plane and flying to my connection in Rome. I have had a countdown leading to the days to everything throughout this whole process, from the meetings I had with the Head of International Education or my Academic Advisor, to the date I had to have my personal statement written, to the due date of my application and the date of the orientation.
In March of 2015, when the Study Abroad Orientation occurred, I found myself in a small classroom, sitting in a desk surrounded by others who were doing just what I was doing; leaving the country they called home for some unknown adventure. Despite this commonality, no on really spoke except for the Director of International Education; we were all so into being quiet in a classroom, pens poised. Nearing the end of the session, some were given letters from the Embassy of our country of destination; I was one of those lucky people. As Scott approached me, he smiled and handed me a large, cold, white envelope with the insignia of the International Studies Institute in Florence, Italy at the top. He passed the thick envelope to me and said, “A package for you, just arrived from Italy” and continued with other paperwork. I took it and slid my fingers across the large insignia at the top corner and smiled to myself. All of us also received our consulate letters from Roanoke College, with the letterhead at the top.
When I got back to my room, I opened it, even though I knew what the contents were. I carefully pulled out two pieces of long white paper that beheld the same insignia. This time, the consulate letters were in Italian. I read them over beaming and I was able to decipher most of it. Holding that, it felt real and I couldn’t help but smile and call my parents.
As the countdown continues and the number gets smaller and smaller, I can’t help but think about how five years ago I never thought I would be going to another country by myself and living there for four months. But I digress. In just five short days, I will be making the drive to Los Angeles to Embassy Row for the interview for my Student Visa! This feeling is incredible and exciting. I’m terrified because I know that I have no clue what I am doing, however, I’ve always been one to get things done. So here we go! The journey awaits.
80 more days.
Ciao for now