Quinn H. is currently a junior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from The Masters School in New York.
For the first few hours I had been in Italy, I felt scared. I knew no one and had never been apart from my parents for more than three weeks. The Italian landscape was foreign to me. As the bus drove by flat roads and tall, skeleton-like trees, I found myself missing the rolling hills and full greenery of New York. But the moment I stepped into the small white car with my host mom, sister, and cousin, I knew that I was not without family here. They bickered and laughed just like I did with my sister at home. They looked at each other with love and admiration and they quickly began to look at me that way as well. As we drove up the dirt road to our house, my eyes widened. Seven dogs surrounded the car and basically tackled me when I got out. Animals are almost exactly the same in every country you go to. You can speak to them in any language you want and you don’t have to worry about understanding their response. This has always been a comfort to me so I was elated, to say the least, that I now had seven furry confidants that would be there for me the entirety of this year.
Leaving home did not feel like I was leaving for nine months. My last time in my room, in my house, didn’t feel like a goodbye. Only a “see you later.” The scariest part to me was leaving as one person, and coming back another. Friends I wouldn’t see for months would change and grow and home would not be the same as it was when I left it. At the airport saying goodbye to my family, I was eager to go. I felt the rush of meeting new people and felt tired with the old. But as I boarded the plane, I realized that I should have cried along with them. You never truly appreciate what you have until it’s “gone”.
Having been here for almost three months now, my outlook on family, language, and culture has changed so much already. I feel as much a part of my Italian family as I do in America. Adjusting to completely foreign surroundings and people was difficult at first, but I’m confident that it is a struggle that has already benefited me in so many ways.
- Campus Reporters
- SYA Italy