Diving In: Seizing the Moment in the Mediterranean

By Gabrielle Langmann, API Tuscania Peer Mentor

Gabrielle studied with API in Tuscania during the summer 2010 term. She is a pre-med student at the University of Pittsburgh, and has contributed to various online studyabroad publications, incuding the NAFSA –  Association of International Educators Blog, and Pink Pangea – a new online community for women travelers.

The following article is being re-posted with permission of Pink Pangea. To read the original article and tour their site, visit http://www.pinkpangea.com/post/diving-in-seizing-the-moment-in-the-mediterranean.

Gabrielle in Italy

My five-week study abroad experience in Tuscania, Italy last summer was deliciously punctuated throughout with adventures all over Italy. With each trip, I learned something more about myself, whether it was through overcoming a challenge or by simply letting go and living completely in the present. One of my first and most memorable excursions was to Isola del Giglio, a small island off the coast of Tuscany. After meeting our Academic Programs International resident director, Irene, early on a Saturday morning, we set off for a gorgeous, sunny day on the island.

During the afternoon, we caught a small boat for the tour around the island. I didn’t really know what to expect, and unfortunately my friends and I sat on the wrong side of the boat (facing the water and not the island). Nevertheless, the view of the island from the water was incredible. Giglio is twelve miles around, so we had quite a long ride. The operator spoke about specific sights in Italian, which Irene translated for us. They included some old folk stories as well as descriptions of the people who live in certain villas or on the surrounding islands. The island was speckled with colorful houses and buildings, and the water of the Mediterranean was the most perfect shade of blue, shimmering each time I carefully dipped a toe into it. Eventually the operator asked us if we’d like to take a swim. We all said yes, though I was initially very apprehensive. My swimming skill level is, well, a little less than average: I never made it past the “guppy” level during swim lessons, and I can count the number of times I’ve gone swimming in a sea or ocean on one hand. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to face my fears and dive in.

The boat operator threw an anchor down where we were, where land was visible but pretty far away. Everyone else in my group jumped in, leaving me standing on the boat and staring into the sparkling blue water. With encouragement from my friends (and much deliberation on my part), I realized that I was being faced with an opportunity to accomplish one of my main goals for studying abroad in Italy. I chose to study abroad in part to try new things. As abstract as that sounds, I wanted to make sure I took advantage of every opportunity I would be given while abroad to step outside of my comfort zone. At that moment, the small boat was a complete manifestation of that comfort zone. Did I want to give up the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean?

Not a chance.

So I took a deep breath, and slowly slid into the water. My first reflex was to grab hold back onto the boat. Everyone was worried and offered me a hand back into the boat, but I decided to get my bearings and swim. Smiling for pictures while treading water, I realized how happy I was to be completely present and living in the moment. I was so proud of myself afterwards for diving in, even though I was afraid at first. It was an incredible experience, maybe my favorite of the trip up to that point. I’m not sure how long we swam, but eventually we climbed back into the boat to finish the tour. As I wiped the sea salt from my eyebrows, I felt at peace knowing I had overcome a challenge during my time abroad, diving into the unknown and coming out on the other side more confident in myself and my ability to adapt to whatever challenges life has in store for me.

Enter your name and email to get new posts by email!

“Best of the Blogs” - Abroad101.com
“Top Study Abroad Blogs” - GoOverseas.com
“Blog of the Week” - GoAbroad.com
“Top 10 Study Abroad Blogs You Should Be Reading” - The Study Abroad Blog
"The Best Meaningful Travel Articles of 2016"-GoAbroad.com
  • We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you have provided. Please check out our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Speak Your Mind

*

Pinterest

[fts_pinterest pinterest_name=apiabroad type=boards_list]

Twitter

Join API in engaging on issues of equity, access, and inclusion in global education at the @DiversityAbroad Global Inclusion 2021! #InclusionIsGlobal #ispyapi #apiabroad

Learn more: https://t.co/EcdE7nr9Dq https://t.co/Nv8eEpzQAm
APIabroad photo
Deadlines have been extended! There is still time to apply to Winter and Spring 2022 API programs! Check out the link below for a list of open programs for Winter and Spring that are still accepting applications! #ispyapi #apiabroad

https://t.co/Qwy7Z4Veo3 https://t.co/evF1hNsYND
APIabroad photo
More and more students in STEM, business, or other fields are finding great coursework abroad! Check out our ClassFinder tool to find courses abroad within your major!
https://t.co/gCmo0Hi9TX

#apiabroad #ispyapi #studyabroad @apiabroad https://t.co/DMcTFIAUpm
APIabroad photo
Most API programs include credit-bearing coursework, even our internships count towards your degree. Need an internship to graduate? Think about taking one abroad for credit!
https://t.co/pRuawLmgAL

#apiabroad #ispyapi #studyabrad @apiabroad https://t.co/9L1xa2h5dW
APIabroad photo
Sept 15 to Oct 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., we would like to not only celebrate the culture but also reflect on Hispanic and Latino identity, belonging, and stereotypes and how we can better support Latinx students in their experiential learning programs. https://t.co/9ogXTw0Pnw APIabroad photo
The API Abroad Blog