“Passion di Vita” (Passion for Life): A Reflection of my Study Abroad Experience

Student: Hannah N.
Program: Rome, Italy: JCU Direct Enrollment, Summer Program

“I left Italy with more than a marble statue and a bottle of wine…I had gained a passion for life, and a passion for international education.”

Somewhere strolling along the cobble-stone streets of Rome, gazing at meticulous cathedrals and ancient ruins, I began to lose all previous conceptions about how I thought of the world. There wasn’t a Starbucks on every corner…there was a Gelato shop. The importance of time and productivity seemed irrelevant. And if there was a soccer game on, you may as well stay inside because nothing will be open for business.

I wanted to study in Italy because I had seen the films and heard the stories of the romanticized lifestyle and appreciation for food, wine, and art. To be honest I did not expect Italy to fit the stereotype; I didn’t think any place could possibly seem as great as it did in the movies. But as I tossed coins into Trevi Fountain, traversed the 7-mile hike along the Amalfi coast, shared meals with my Italian family, and enjoyed meaningful conversations with students and travelers from different cultures and backgrounds, I began to experience first-hand the sincere appreciation and passion that Italians exude for life!

I had never experienced a lifestyle that put such emphasis on enjoying your friends, family, or even your time. Meals would last for hours, and value was placed on laughing, telling stories, and sharing knowledge. Try explaining the concept of “fast-food” in Italy and they will look at you with blank stares!

Living in Rome and immersing into a new culture completely changed my life. My experience abroad provided me with a wider appreciation of different cultures, of valuing other people and their perspectives, and ultimately inspired a new career path for me.

And just like a glass of Italian wine…after you have had a taste, you’re hooked! Since then, the Italian culture, and passion for life has influenced and enriched the way I live and work. All I have to do is find a way to make it back. Back to La Vida Bella.

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