Living Without Regrets; Learning Without Borders

Days Away

I am a freshly 21 year old, starting my junior year in a new country. I’ve recently declared a double major in Accounting and Information Systems and a minor in Marketing. I have set many goals for myself throughout my college career, but studying abroad has always been at the top of my list. I often doubted I would ever get the chance to go to a different country, but somehow I got here: days away from hopping on an airplane to Torino, Italy.

When I tell people I am studying abroad they always ask: where? And I proclaim Italy proudly. They then go onto ask curiously: why there? The better question in my mind is why not Italy? Numerous countries are available to study abroad, but for me Italy stands out. Although I may not have much of any Italian genes, as a half-Mexican with some German elements, I have so much interest in Italy. I love the art and architecture and language and food. When taking a European History class in high school, Italy was always the most interesting country to learn about. Overall, Europe intrigues me and I have a long list of countries that I want to experience. I want to take my own pictures and not stare at textbook photos wondering what the country is truly like. With Torino’s location in Northern Italy, I hope to visit many neighboring countries. I am very excited to be submerged in a continent, country, and city that offers so much living and learning.

A never ending amount of knowledge awaits me in only a few days. It still shocks and scares me that I’ll be on a plane to Italy, a country where the most I really know of the language is ‘ciao’ and ‘grazie’ and I barely know how to spell them. This will be the ultimate adventure. I start from complete scratch with a new language, new friends, new culture and life. I have never been out of America and with three years of high school Spanish that didn’t really stick well; I hope to grasp the Italian language and culture in a matter of four months. Right now it seems hopeless and I am certainly worried about all the barriers ahead of me, but I look at this experience as a huge hurdle that I will overcome in the end. It will be exciting. It will be frightening.

Throughout this journey, I hope to accomplish giving you and others my experience of being submerged in a new culture and absorbing every bit of Italy. I wish to teach you the details of Torino, Italy and hopefully the basics of what I learn in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and the rest of Europe! Through personal experiences, helpful advice, comparisons, as well as the Italian language and culture – through every aspect of studying abroad my goal is to inform you about the rich culture just across the sea.

Living without regrets and learning without borders is what USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) stands by and how I wish to live my life. By choosing to challenge myself and achieve a goal, I will be living my life without regrets and learning without any borders in my way. I am excited and nervous for all that lies ahead of me in the next four months, but most of all I can’t believe that I will be out of the comfort of my home and finding my way around a new country in just a few days.

– Amanda Bleasdale –

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About Amanda

Ever since I was little, I ventured all over my back yard and into the woods and around the mountains of Roanoke, Virginia dreaming of traveling. Now, I prepare to travel to Italy for a semester gaining a whole new perspective. As a junior studying Information Systems at The University of Toledo, I am excited to return in January to share my experiences and encourage others to study abroad. Many memories will be made, but none will be regretted. Many exciting people will be met from toe of Italy to the mountain tops of Norway. Boarders will be crossed.

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