Post-Italy Reflections by Jeff Tolman

My two months in Italy seem almost surreal to me now.  Almost immediately after landing in Cleveland I found myself, all at once, back into my old world.  I was expecting to get some form of culture shock upon my return to the States but I really haven’t had any.  I would compare it to hanging out with a best friend you haven’t seen in months where things just pick up exactly where they left off.  Being home after traveling through Italy all summer is quite a contrast; so much so that it seems to be somewhat of a dream.

My study abroad was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  It really pushed me to see things in a different way.  It wasn’t only eye opening to see the culture of a different country but to live and be a part of that culture.  I really did live a different life over there.  Each day was an adventure; each experience was new.

I would recommend to any student, especially at the college level, to study abroad.  It is a great way to discover new things about the world and also about yourself.  I don’t think anyone can truly know who they are without having an experience like this and breaking out of the bubble that encompasses their day to day life.

I learned a lot about painting, sculpture, and food by living in Florence.  The more things you know, the more things you can appreciate.  Like the detailed brush strokes of the patterns and folds in clothes.

After studying abroad I realized that the world is a lot smaller than I thought, but it is a lot older and the ruined past is something you can’t really experience in the United States.

Though my trip may seem like a dream now, it is one that I can continue to look back on endlessly and come to new realizations each and every time.

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