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A melancholic nostalgia was twisting itself around me in the final days of my semester abroad. Rome had become so much more than the place in which I lived and studied. Each experience this city offered me made it more difficult to accept the fact that it was now April and my time in Italy had come to an end. On April 21st, however, as I sat with my classmates and two of our Italian instructors at a local Irish pub in Prati (funny, right?) and enjoyed the mix of English and Italian languages through which we communicated, I received notification that I had been selected as one of the three recipients of the Salisbury International Internship Award. In other words, my experience in Italy was not in the least bit over. And I was beyond words.
This blog is not about my time as a study abroad student, but there is one aspect of the semester that I find relates directly to the content I do wish to write about, and thus I would like to discuss it here briefly. For four months I studied in Rome as part of a group of thirty students from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, each of us belonging to some combination of the Architecture, Art History, or Studio Art programs. This discipline-specific experience abroad fostered a genuine appreciation for all the cultural and historic stimulants we came into contact with each day: the narrow, cobblestone streets we meandered through; the architectonic spaces we entered; or the extraordinary frescoes, sculptures, mosaics and other visual objects we studied in Rome and throughout Italy. Being an Art History major, the number of people with whom I share my passion is rather limited in the undergraduate level of study, and so experiencing my passion first hand with others who felt similarly was immensely powerful. The support and joy I felt as I interacted with my peers taught me a valuable lesson about discerning one’s future both in terms of the professional and personal: to let passion fuel work and to work with others who have passion. No one was more excited for me to have the Salisbury than the students – the friends – around me, and I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have the HWS community behind me as I embark upon an incredible international internship this summer.