Now that I'm home again and I've had a few weeks to catch back up with things, I think it's a wonderful time to reflect on my 6 weeks in Italy.
First off, let me just say that choosing to do TWO summer programs back to back and spend 6 weeks of my summer in Italy was by far the best thing I have ever done! I'll admit, at first I was a bit nervous- I was going to a foreign country alone, I didn't know anybody that was going to be there, I hardly spoke Italian, and it was going to be 6 long weeks away from my family. All I knew what that I was pretty sure I was going to love the wine and food and that I love music which is what I was going to be working on for those 6 weeks. One of the program directors said to me as I hesitated about the length of time I was going to be gone he said, "Ashleigh, this is going to be the most amazing summer of your life and you are going to come back a changed woman." It was and I am!
I won't bore you with the details of each program but I will say that I got the wonderful opportunity to coach and perform two operas, learned 1 semester worth of Italian in 3-4 weeks, took lessons and created relationships with some phenomenal people, enjoyed fabulous food and wine every single day, I worked hard, I cried, I learned so much about who I am and how I work and what makes me tick, I laughed, I danced, but most importantly, I loved every single minute of it!
My advice for anyone considering studying abroad: DO IT! Sure, it's scary and expensive and there's a lot that you will be unsure of but I can promise you that it is all more than worth it!!! You learn about a different culture and maybe a new language, you experience things and places and people that will blow your mind, you make friends that will last a lifetime, you will learn so much about yourself, you will have the time of your life doing it all!!!
And with that ladies and gentlemen, I start my SENIOR year of college!!! (When did that happen?!?!?)