Post-Return from Italy: Gianna Calderon






After arriving back in the United States, the first thing I wanted to do was cuddle with my dog. Then, the second thing I wanted to do was eat Chipotle. After accomplishing both tasks, I was extremely jet lagged, and I ended up sleeping for thirteen hours.

While living and studying abroad, I discovered a lot of new aspects about myself. For example, in the past, I have always tightly booked my schedule. I felt the need to always be doing something, and it made me feel overworked and overwhelmed. Before I went to Italy, I was also strict on time management. While abroad, I discovered that I can make my schedule more open, and I do not have to be so hard on myself. I can also spend more time completing tasks than I originally anticipated, and everything will always work itself out.

Regarding my academic program, I highly feel like my expectations were met. For instance, I have learned a variety of new Italian words and phrases. I have also brought back a good amount of Italian cooking skills. I already made the delicious Panna Cotta for my family! My professors were extremely welcoming and encouraging. It was wonderful to be introduced to new learning methods as well, in which this will aid my study habits at my University.

While abroad, I feel like I became a new person. I encountered old passions of mine, such as reading and journaling. I was able to truly enjoy life and emerge in a new culture. I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone, and I broadened my taste buds as well. My family was pleased to learn that I am now a fan of eating calamari.

Although I adored studying abroad, I encountered a few obstacles along the way. The first problem was the fact that there was no air conditioning anywhere. It was gruesome trying to sleep at night with the windows open and the windows did not have a screen to protect the bugs from invading my room. But, this issue taught me to appreciate the life I have at home and how lucky I am for something that I did not even think that others did not have access to. The second obstacle that I found myself in was getting comfortable talking and ordering in Italian. I learned how to ask for ice for my drink, for the menu, and a variety of other phrases. But, my pronunciation was not always perfect, so it was humbling at times. Besides these small bumps, I was able to complete my experience with an open and positive mindset.

While being home, I have visited numerous friends and family members. I have also attended three concerts, and it feels amazing to be home. I attached a photo of one of my best friends and I visiting Chicago right after I came home. But, I do miss Italy at times, and I still chat with my house mom on WhatsApp. I foresee myself leaving for college soon, and I plan to continue reading and taking time for myself. I also see myself trying to travel more in an effort to experience more cultures and enhance my cultural competency for nursing. I can not thank Fund For Education enough for generously aiding my once in a lifetime experience. I also can not thank you enough for following alongside my journey. I can not wait to see what is actually in store for my future!