Guest Post By: Amy Do, a Senior studying Human Resources. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Foster Rome in Rome, Italy, during Summer B-Term 2023.
As I reflect on my study abroad experience in Rome, I realize how much I miss the city. I am filled with gratitude and self-awareness whenever I think about my time in Roma; it was truly as transformative as I was told it would be. This journey has allowed me to not only explore new places but to discover new aspects of myself. I would like to share some of my insights and personal growth that I have experienced during my life-changing journey.
Leaving the comfort of my home back in South Seattle presented a significant emotional challenge. I was devastated that my family wasn’t just a shout away, but rather five thousand miles away. However, I learned to cope through journaling on my favorite blue living room couch, working out at Trastevere Fitness, and cutting up fruit each morning. Engaging in these new hobbies prompted deep reflections on my values and goals, resulting in a profound understanding of my own identity. The physical distance helped me manage my finances, plan my weekend adventures, and tackle every day challenges on my own. Over time, I established a routine that made my new surroundings feel like home.
Living in a different country for one month has allowed me to appreciate the diversity of other cultures. Each day gave me new encounters, challenges, and friends. This cultural immersion allowed and encouraged me to live every day to the fullest. Besides the beautiful streets of Rome, I had the chance to explore Florence, Venice, Pisa, and Sorrento. Some highlights of these cities were: visiting La Marzocco, gliding along the canals in a gondola, seeing the iconic leaning tower, and enjoying a swim in the Bagni Regina Giovanna. I even had a weekend getaway to Paris and saw the magical Eiffel Tower. An especially memorable encounter was befriending the Yves Saint Laurent sales associate. Looking back on these experiences, I will forever cherish the memory of ‘siesta,’ when the entire city observed quiet hours for an afternoon nap, and the delicious tradition of grabbing a gelato as an anytime dessert. These moments have enriched my understanding of the world and hold a special place in my heart.
Academically, studying abroad pushed me to be more expressive and engaged in my learning. Because of a smaller cohort, I felt comfortable actively participating in each class. Working closely with my peers strengthened our connections, creating a supportive but also intellectually stimulating academic community. It reignited my passion for learning.
My time in Europe deepened my understanding of how interconnected our world is. We are so different yet so alike. The bonds I created during study abroad is a reminder of how powerful human connection is. Despite the initial challen ges from language barriers and cultural differences, I quickly learned that genuine connections can overcome these obstacles. Wherever I go, I am committed to fostering meaningful intercultural relationships and working towards a more interconnected world.
My time in Roma has made me deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I am truly thankful for my family at home and the family I made during my short time there. Each experience shaped me to who I am today. I am more open-minded, adaptable, and culturally aware. I will always remember the four minute walks to get my favorite salmon pasta, my wishes at the Trevi, and the love and support that came from the Foster faculty.
I am thrilled to continue to live out the lessons I’ve learned and the perspectives I’ve gained. I am incredibly fortunate to have experienced this transformative journey. The power of education and human connection has become even more evident to me. I am so thankful for the exposure I’ve had to make me more resilient. Here’s to celebrating change even when it’s daunting; diversity even when it’s unfamiliar; self-discovery even when it requires stepping out of my comfort zone.