Text that reads "hello goodbye" surrounded by multicolored airplanes

It is the end of the semester and, as with all endings, it is time to say our goodbyes. There are see-ya-next-years for friends returning to hometowns for the summer and congratulations-and-good-luck for those who are graduating. There are so-longs to classes while stressful exams get good-riddances!

In just a few days I will be saying farewell to the city of Winona but the nostalgia won’t last long—because I am going to Italy!

It’s ciao and buongiourno (“hello” and “good morning” in Italian) that are on the tip of my tongue. I am traveling to Florence, Italy as part of a travel study group called Dante in Italy. Two professors, ten other students and I leave this Sunday for a two week trip; we’ll spend most of our time in Florence, but we’ll also be taking day trips to Venice, Piza, Ravenna, and Sienna. I am so excited!

We are going to tour the city of Florence, go to some amazing art museums and majestic cathedrals, as well as experience authentic Italian food including a gelato festival that is held just a few blocks from our apartments.

Now, this is a travel study program so it has an academic portion– well, it’s actually the whole reason we’re going! While we are there we will be reading Dante’s Inferno because Dante was very influenced by the city and politics of Florence when he wrote the epic poem.

Our assignment is to find connections between the Inferno and all the places we visit, which we will discuss as a group over our evening meals. We also have to write blog posts about Dante, the Inferno and our experience in Italy in general. Since I have been writing this Admissions blog for months now, this will be a cinch for me.

My new blog is called Hello—wherever you are! and if you’re interested in finding out more about my trip, check it out!

So I’ve gone on now about my totally awesome trip, are you feeling a bit jealous? Well, this easily could be you!

At WSU, opportunities for international travel abound; every year there are numerous travel study trips that go to distant places such as Australia, Costa Rica, and London just to name a few.

On a typical travel study, you’ll spend two or three weeks abroad, have some amazing adventures and earn up to 3 credits in the process. I am earning 3 credits for Eng. 325, a class that counts as elective for my major 🙂 . That is the same as taking a 16 week course here in Minnesota!

If only a few weeks isn’t enough time for you (and really, two weeks isn’t nearly enough time to see everything there is to see in Florence, let alone all of Italy!), you could schedule to study abroad for a semester or even an entire year.

During a study abroad semester, you will actually enroll in a partner university and take several classes there. I actually have a friend who is studying abroad in South Korea right now and she is learning so much and having a great time.

If you are interested in traveling abroad while in attending WSU, the International Programs Office  has all the information you need to get started.

Traveling to another country is such an incredible experience; this will be my second time abroad (I went to visit my best friend in South Korea after I graduated high school) and I cannot wait

Yes, it can be daunting to go to a place where you don’t speak the language or understand the customs and yes, there is the expense to consider, but it is so worth the social discomfort and budget-tightening.

You will learn so much about the world and gain insight into your own culture and identity—and isn’t that the point of college anyway?

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Elizabeth Meinders

Elizabeth was the Blog Manager before she graduated with a BA degree in English & Public Relations in 2015. She is from Marshfield, WI and her interests include crafting, playing board games and snuggling with her cats.

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