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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Collegian reporters travel abroad to Italy this past summer

Student-reporters Cade Cracas and Brynn Meisse traveled across the world
Brynn Meisse
AU students stand in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy.

This summer Cade Cracas and I got to travel to Italy for Ashland University’s study abroad program. 

For this program, I was required to take a humanities or art class during the spring semester, and traveling abroad would be during the summer. 

Spending two weeks in Italy was the highlight of my summer because I got to travel to a new country and experience a new culture. 

One of the best things about experiencing a new culture is getting to try their food. 

During the trip, I ate several different types of pasta, gelato, and pizza. The pasta was personally my favorite because it wasn’t anything like American pasta. I could eat a whole bowl and not feel like I was bloated.  

Walking might’ve helped with this too. When we were in Rome, we walked about 10 miles a day before we realized that there were electric scooters.  

My group of 10 would pair up on scooters and drive them around the city. We for sure looked like the typical tourists, but it was so much fun getting to see the city that way. However, nothing will beat the moment on the scooters when we were riding down an alley and the Colosseum appeared before us.  

Getting to see the ancient ruins of the Roman Empire was one of my favorite moments on this trip.  My group and I got to go on a guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.  

Getting to see the ruins was so fascinating and honestly an incredible experience. Growing up in school you always read about these places, but getting to visit them puts into perspective how people lived and the hard work they put in.  

It also gave me a deeper level of appreciation for the Roman people because they created these significant buildings without the technology that we have today.  

Visiting these old ruins had younger Brynn internally freaking out as I have always been a history nerd. 

However, my absolute favorite moment of my study abroad trip was getting to volunteer. 

Professor Dan McDonald arranged for all the students to volunteer at the local convent. When we got there the group was split into smaller groups that either helped with handing out clothes, garden work, or the kitchen. 

I was one of the few students that got to work in the kitchen, and it was difficult but rewarding. I was working with three nuns to cut different types of fruit, but the nuns didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Italian. This provided a difficult barrier that I had to learn how to work through. 

We relied on body language to be able to communicate. This interaction showed me the importance of being open and not getting frustrated when things get difficult.  

While I didn’t get frustrated with the language barrier, I did struggle with public transportation.  

We took the bus to several different cities on this trip and something that I noticed is how important public transportation is.  

It didn’t seem like a lot of people owned cars, but instead, buses were the main way citizens got around town. Since the buses are so important and run on certain schedules, people would pack into these buses.  

This was where I struggled the most because of how claustrophobic I am. I am a strong believer in personal space, but I had to learn how to not freak out when people were packed in close to me.  

I also learned to always stamp the bus tickets, or you will be given a 60 euro fine. I found that out the hard way. 

If you are ever given the chance to visit another country, I highly encourage you to go on the trip. Getting to experience a new culture is so beneficial to personal growth as well as to creating memories that last a lifetime.  

I left this trip with so many new friends and an empty bank account.  

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