Sammy; My Goldfish

Tara P. 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.

The only thing constant in life is change. However, society has grown to fear it. We fear the forced challenges in life. 

Young children are different. They are adaptable to new environments and open to change. Society has grown complacent within its stagnant bubble of familiarity. 

Impermanence is learned at a young age. My rude awakening was when my goldfish, Sammy, died in the summer of 2011. We had a ceremony honoring his life, before my beloved companion was flushed down the toilet. Life went on.

Although Sammy’s passing was a minor event compared to the extensive inequalities of our world, it is my first memory of change. Now having experienced only a little more of life, I have lost more than just a goldfish. I have lost my innocence, and will continually have to let things go. Losing Sammy taught me that no matter how badly I crave for life to be predictable, things will always be out of my control. Beginning on that hot summer’s day in 2011, I have been pushing on limitations. My journey with change has enlarged my yearning for adventure and experiencing what is unfamiliar. 

I want to experience the excitement of discovery that I felt when I was younger, before I experienced limitations on my desire for exploration. The event of Sammy's death taught me to embrace change and development. I have learned to be alright with not feeling comfortable. I have grown to enjoy it. 

Since being in Italy, I have been able to learn more about myself by exploring the unknown. I have discovered that I like to travel and how to interact with new people. I am learning, living, and functioning using a language I had never spoken before my arrival. My host family has provided me with a unique experience. The thought of living as the daughter of people who were at first two strangers was daunting. But, six months later, I now have a second family. To study in Italy for the year, I had to leave my parents, sister, and three best friends. The dynamic with my Italian family was so foreign. I learned how to make Italian friends through my friendship with Giulia, my Italian sister. I learned Italian through car rides with Alessandro, my Italian dad, who picks me up from all my activities. I learned how to cook by helping Gloria, my Italian mom, prepare dinner for the family. The scariest part about going abroad was a fear of the homestay to which I would be assigned. Now, I fear leaving this new family that I have made. 

Being in Italy this year with SYA has allowed me to have expansive learning opportunities outside of my comfort zone. My life in New York was too comfortable. Of course, being in Italy has been a dramatically different experience; I have loved doing it. I am absorbing every conversation, every meal, and every piece of artwork that I encounter. SYA has been a launch point for a lifetime of more fully exploring cultures and discovering my role in the world. 

  • Campus Reporters
  • SYA Italy
Ha Sido un Placer

In her final blog, Camus Reporter Meredith M. reflects on the letter she wrote to herself at the beginning of her year abroad.

The Revolving Door

In her final blog, Campus reporter Isabelle M. describes her year abroad in France as a revolving door.

Time Travel

Melinda D. reflects on her final weeks abroad and how she and her peers have changed at SYA Spain.

Arrivederci Roma

Campus reporter Camila F. writes about saying goodbye to Rome and shares the music that defined her year abroad.

Thank You

Julia A. expresses her gratitude to her host family, friends, and parents for her time at SYA France.