21 November 2013

What I have learned in Europe!

People have asked me what it’s like to live here in Italy and I have a lot to say about that. It’s different. I have learned how to be independent and most of all what I really need to make me happy. No one needs everything that they have. Coming over seas and leaving almost everything you have behind at home is difficult. It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to bring but in all reality I brought too much. I wear pretty much the same combinations of clothing almost everyday here. I’m surprised if someone hasn’t noticed. I did buy 2 sweaters, a coat and a scarf here because I made the decision to buy a coat instead of bring one with me, and it was cheaper in the long run then haul a coat in September!

Changing my daily routine was overwhelming at the beginning. I moved into an apartment that wasn’t mine, all I had was a bed, desk, closet, bathroom, kitchen and utensils. I have changed my routines in the morning and have gotten used to not having a bathtub when all I want to do is relax. My comfortable home is half way around the world and nothing made sense the first few weeks living here. Going to the grocery store where nothing is in English can be difficult. It took me over a month to find milk that was lactose free, something that is so easy to find in the United States can be difficult when there is a language barrier everywhere.

I have never been afraid to go alone here in Europe. I feel completely safe. Never once have I felt that I was in danger (except on a train in Germany, but that is a long story). I feel more endangered in my hometown than in Europe. Yes there are some places in every town that can be scary, but so far I feel great, as long as I don’t speak or bring attention that I am a foreigner.

Traveling is so easy and relatively cheap to do. Many planes here in Europe are around 30Euros, it’s when you have luggage is what bites you in the butt. I can fly from Venice to many places on a low budget, if only I had more time I could take advantage of traveling further places. Unlike in the United States, no one relies on a personal car to get around. Most places have an excellent bus system and train system. I can get anywhere in Italy by train. I don’t think I can get to Nebraska by train or by bus from Greeley.

There are a few things that I do take for granted:

Health: I am I healthy and young. My legs have walked me around Europe, my lungs work, my eyes can see, my ears can hear the beautiful sound of the sea.

Wealth: I’m not talking about money. I am talking about the wealth of my experiences I am having and which I have had. My parents have taught me that there are more things in life than fancy clothes and expensive things. Traveling is considered wealth in my eyes. The more that I can see in this world is more important to me than anything that I can buy in a store. I would rather buy a plane ticket to Prague than spend that money on something that I won’t care about in ten years. 

Now that I have finally gotten to travel throughout parts of Europe, it doesn’t mend my itch for traveling. I just want to travel more. I have so many places that I want to see now, not just in Europe, but also around the world! I cannot wait to see where life takes me after I graduate from UNC!


  1. Very well said Hannah! The most important things in life are the experiences you get, not the things you own. Traveling is such a great way to expand your horizons and make you see a completely new outlook on the world.

  2. Sounds like you are having too much fun across the pond. Glad to hear you're learning a lot and taking it all in. The pictures you are taking are phenomenal! We all miss you back in the states (especially Clover). Hope you have a great rest of you're trip and cant wait to hear all about it when you come home.

  3. I like your definition of Wealth! And remember: "One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
    Ciao :)

  4. Do you think your experience would be different if you would have learned Italian before you became a "Study Abroad Student?"

    1. I think my experience would have been 50% different. I would be able to communicate with locals more and also feel more confident traveling throughout Italy. I am now able to understand Italian pretty well, but I am not able to speak it fluently. It is easier to understand a language than to speak it.

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