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Ciao, Italia: Preparation

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By Kristi Rolf

I am kicking of my fourth semester writing for the Brackety-Ack with a brand-new column, Ciao, Italia! During the next three months, you can find me on the Culture, Lifestyle, and Wellness page and read about my adventures as a temporary expat while I study abroad in Perugia, Italy.

When I board the plane at the beginning on February, I will begin a long series of personal firsts: my first solo plane ride, first trip outside the U.S., first time using a foreign language with native speakers, and the longest time I’ve ever spent away from home. With these experiences comes meeting new people, gaining new skills, and making countless memories. During the semester I will document what I’m learning and doing here in this column, so stick around!

In nine days I will drive to the airport to begin my adventure, but I have already learned so much in the past few months. Just preparing for this trip has been as scary as I expected actually leaving would be! Learning how to pack for three months of living and learning in a foreign country has been stressful (although I definitely enjoyed the excuse to buy new clothes). 

I’ve been dreaming of this opportunity since I was a little girl and now that it’s actually here, it has brought unanticipated challenges. I didn’t expect that it would be so hard to leave Roanoke College in December and say goodbye to my incredible friends for five months. I didn’t know that I could be so terrified and so excited at the same time. I didn’t know it was possible to make so many lists; shopping lists, packing lists, to-do lists, bucket lists…. the list of lists I’ve made goes on forever! 

Despite everything I’ve done, I suspect that I will still feel unprepared when I get on that first plane. But as the incredible Professor Chapman told me last fall, no matter how unprepared I feel, I must simply go. She reminded me that just by being there I am opening myself up to life-changing experiences and that is enough. 

If simply preparing for this trip has already taught me so much, I can’t wait to see what Italy has to teach me when I finally get there! I will write my next article from Perugia and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.