Before I left for Italy in August 2015, I was so excited for what was in store during my studying abroad experience. But as the departure date got closer, the unknown became scarier and scarier. I knew there was so much I was going to miss back home, but after settling in, it was December before I know it, and already time to head back home for a few weeks. Since I was able to go back to Italy for a second semester, I didn’t have to think about leaving it for good; but when the time came, it really hit me.
You never truly know what you have until it’s gone.
And being home in the U.S. for a few weeks now really does show that. You don’t realize how much you’ve seen or the lasting friendships you’ve made with fellow students and professors alike. You are forced into a strange place, where everything is new and you are forced to adapt. And for people like myself, this place becomes a second home.
Towards the middle of my second semester studying abroad, I’ll admit I was a little homesick and couldn’t wait to get back to the States. However, as the days winded down, it started to hit me that the place I’ve come to know and love would no longer be the place I’d wake up to in the morning or go to sleep in every night.
I will miss the people, the day to day living, and most of all, the food.
In my final days in Italy, I was able to indulge in all my favorite foods, as well as places throughout Florence that held a special place in my heart. Doing so allowed me to say goodbye to my second home properly while seeing everything one last time.
Leaving my studying abroad experience in Italy reminded me of leaving elementary or high school because it’s not a goodbye, it’s a, “I’ll see you later.” I left with that mindset. Because although I left my second home, I know I want to travel more in the future, and I will be back one day. In regards to the food, I was able to bring home some of my favorites to enjoy while I am back in the States.
The people I’ve met along the way.
We will cross paths again one day, and will be able to reminisce on all the good times. And as a plus, we’ll be able to play catch up with everything that has happened in between. So even though you leave a place, with modern technology and travel, it’s not hard anymore to keep in touch with people or go back and visit. Because who knows? You could wind up moving there one day!
Featured image source: jyjylee88.wordpress.com, colliers.com
Kaitlyn Weinberger is 20 years old, about to be 21 in August. She is from Queens, NY and a rising senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology, studying Fashion Merchandising Management with a specialization in Product Development and a minor in Italian studies. Most recently she studied abroad in Florence, Italy for the entire 2015-2016 academic year. In her spare time she enjoys painting, hanging out with her friends and writing!