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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

At the end of my first year of college, I felt like I was lacking experience that others had. I was constantly comparing myself to my peers and I felt severely behind them in the social aspect. I knew I wanted more out of my college experience and to get outside of my comfort zone. I knew the best way to do that was by studying abroad. I always knew I wanted to study abroad when I came to college, especially since I stayed in state for school. I wanted an experience that pushed me out of my bubble and made me really find myself. Although I was nervous to go, I was more excited to be going to a new country and having a unique adventure in Italy. 

I went into the program thinking that I was going to spend most of my time by myself, but the complete opposite happened. I connected with the other people in my group very quickly and we became a little family by the end. The memories I made with them are something I will never forget. From gondola rides in Venice to going out in Milan, I truly felt like I was having the college experience I always wanted. I will never forget sitting in the park near our school doing homework while watching the sunset and fighting off mosquitoes. I will never forget tasting my first bites of pasta, pizza, tiramisu, and all the other delicious food that Italy has to offer. And I will definitely never forget spending the entire day in the cutest beach town called Rimini and taking the train back to Ferrara in our swimsuits covered in sand. The best experience of all was being able to return to Ferrara after exploring other Italian cities. 

Ferrara quickly became my second home after spending five weeks there. The city has some of the best locals and although some of them did not speak a lot of English, I never had trouble communicating with them; I learned the language so much faster by being in Italy and I had my friends around me to help me along the way. The locals also introduced me to their culture and taught me life lessons I will never forget, the main one being to take my time.

In Italy, nothing is rushed: the dinners are long and their lunch breaks even longer. Italians truly know how to live for the experience and not for the hustle of work culture that we have in the United States. This led me to have a complete mental detox while I was there and I took my time with everything. I was barely on social media and instead I spent my time with my friends, taking walks around the piazza and exploring the beautiful city. I got out of my comfort zone too, and in doing so I tried so many new things and gained so much confidence along the way. I even figured out what I wanted to major in while I was there. I went to Italy being undecided and I came back with a love for marketing. I found myself comparing how Italians market their goods versus how Americans market and I loved seeing the difference. 

Overall, I would not trade my experience abroad for anything. I had the best time and learned so much academically and personally. I love being abroad so much that I am already planning my next trip back! I finally found a college experience that I love and I never want to let go!

Just a girl who loves cute things :) Sophomore majoring in business :(