For my STEP project I participated on a four week long study abroad to Italy. We stayed in Bologna for our trip and took various trips to other Northern Italian cities. While in Italy we looked at how Bologna has been shaped over time by its students and people.
One major view that changed for me while in Bologna was how much different the world is from the United Sates or even Italy is different form the rest of the world. When traveling I never have really had the opportunity to stay in one city for a month. On this trip I was able to sit back and relax and really experience the different culture. What I noticed in that the Italian culture is much more laid back and relaxed then the American culture. While there are still people rushing to get everywhere and do everything, for the most part people are more laid back and not in as big of a hurry. As I ate lunch or dinner, meals were not something that was done real quickly, you had to plan to spend an hour or so eating, even if it was not that fancy of a meal. People were not in a rush to do everything. Locals took there time getting from place to place. As we were scheduled to meet professors from the University of Bologna. They never arrived on time, and our Ohio State professors said that it the Italian way. People in Italy took there time to really enjoy everything. Ferris Bueller said it best, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
One thing I learned on this trip is to just go out and do something even if I am not sure I will like it or not. I have always been a hesitant person. Not really sure if I should do something so I may just not do it. I may wimp out on doing something because the though of it may scare me. I never really was pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I have turned down a lot of opportunities because I am nervous. This would change on this trip. As I was sitting in Florence eating dinner with our group of thirteen of us as it was pouring down rain outside. We had just come from the Piazza Michelangelo, as it was pouring outside, were debating weather or not to go up and overlook the city at night. I was soaked, but four of us decided to climb back up and over look the city at night. It was only about a fifteen minute hike to the top, and it was better then going back to the hotel and not really doing much. I wanted to make the most out of my two and a half days in Florence. The rain ended up stopping by the time we made it to the top. The views were spectacular. The city was all lit up, and it was breathtaking. I was soaked but it did not matter, it was worth the hike to the top. We ended up staying up there for about an hour and splitting a bottle of wine between the four of us. We had some great conversations and laughs at the top, getting to know each other since, less then a week ago we had just meet each other for the first time. We also just stared out at the city. Since Florence is such a buzzy city during the day, it was nice to have this calming experience. This experience had taught me to never fear from trying new things, even if I don’t want to do something. It may suck, but the experience may be worth it. I took this mind set for the rest of the trip, some stuff was not worth it while others things were. Like our Colosseum visit in Verona was not worth it, but it was better to do it then wonder what it was like. Don’t be scared to do something even if it may scared you, the experience may be worth the adventure.
As I look at cities in the United States many of them are either world cities, like New York, or small cities, like Columbus. American Cities are different from Italian cities, I assumed many cities around the world were the same. In Italy many cities are world cities. Even Bologna is a world city since it has many people from around the world there. Similar to Columbus, but has a much more diverse population and is connected to the world in a much different way. Even the small cities have a large population of tourists. Not just the large cities.
The main thing that I will take away from this trip is to be adventures. Not to be scared try new things when the opportunity comes up. I would have never really gotten to know that group of people I was with so well. Plus I would have never seen one of the best city views of my life. I will always go try something new, because you ever know what will happen. It may turn out bad, but at least I tried something new and did not wonder what could have been. I will also relax more when I try to do something, worry less about doing everything and more about having a good time. There are a lot of opportunities out there that may scare me or make me nervous, but whatever it is may be worth it. I just have to take the first step in trying it out.