1851 Co-Editor-in-Chief Megan Palumbo studied abroad in the Fall of 2017 at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
1851 Features Editor Mackenzie Dineen studied abroad in Florence, Italy during the Spring of 2018.
- The freedom – I studied abroad by myself which made life simple when I was traveling/exploring. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted which was a freedom I never had before. I didn’t have to rely on anyone to make plans or do something. I also didn’t have as much responsibility there, as I do at Lasell. I could walk around town after classes, hike a different mountain every weekend or even just spend the afternoon in my flat cooking – simply because I had the time!
- The beauty – I’ve never been exposed to such amazing views before living in South Africa. Stellenbosch’s landscape consisted of mountains, wine vineyards, and the beach…all in that order. No matter where I looked it was an insane view, something I never got used to.
- I got to do things I wouldn’t normally do – I decided to use my time abroad as a way to let loose and live life to the fullest because I didn’t know when I would be granted such an experience again. I went on a wine tram tour in Franschhoek for a day, tasting wine and eating cheese platters. I visited a wildlife sanctuary and got to feed elephants. I swam with all my clothes on at a whale festival in Hermanus and joined the University’s Hiking Club. I went bungee jumping, slept in strange hostels, adventured through weekend markets and did a six-day backpacking trip on the Eastern Cape with two women I didn’t even know. The list goes on and on but in short, each day was filled with a new adventure.
- Culture- Living abroad introduced me to a new place and people with their own unique history, tradition, and language. The roads I walked, museums I visited, and the breath-taking Arno River I lived on were all living pieces of history. Different customs regarding food, social behavior, music, and art were all welcome surprises that broadened my perspective and changed my opinions that were previously only informed by an American way of life. After assimilating to a new lifestyle, I now carry a little piece of Italian culture with me in my heart. I often catch myself saying “Ciao” to cashiers or staring at passersby’s before remembering that it is poor etiquette in the States. I constantly long for the relaxed attitude and pace of Florence. I miss the kindness and generosity of physicians without monetary motives, the friendliness of complete strangers, and the long conversations with my dear friends about our respective homes.
- Food- Nothing in America tastes the least bit appetizing after abiding in a country renowned for its cuisine- and no, Bertucci’s is not real Italian food. Each week I would navigate the labyrinthian grocery store, fill my backpack with fresh pasta, cheese, and bread, and trek up the ten flights of stairs to my studio apartment. Corner stores sold wine that would make connoisseurs cry, for only two or three euro. Wine is a quintessential aspect of any Italian meal, and water bottles are stamped with pictures of infants. On special evenings, my friends and I would make trips to local trattoria, where we tasted food that we still dream about to this day.
- Adventure- It’s difficult not to feel lost in a stagnant life after spending each day exploring from morning to night. Working a minimum wage job simply can’t compare to hopping on a plane and landing in an entirely new place. Routine is important but can be incredibly difficult in the wake of spontaneity. Abroad students feel invincible and on top of the world because the world is theirs for the time being. It would be a lie if I said I didn’t miss the omnipotence of traveling.