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  • Writer's pictureMadelon Davis

What I Learned During My 5-Week Study Abroad Program in Rome

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

by Madelon Davis, GO Rome 2023

Studying abroad is most college student’s dream - it was my dream, and I made it happen with LeadAbroad.

This past summer I spent five weeks studying abroad with LeadAbroad. This company, more like a family, is one I stumbled upon on TikTok. I was doing my endless scrolling one night and saw a video of students swimming in crystal clear water, jumping out of planes and others relaxing on a boat. I wanted it all, I wanted to be them, I wanted to experience all the adventures that I saw on the screen.

After finding this video I became obsessed. I wanted to know everything about LeadAbroad and how I could get to be like the students in the video. Once I figured out my program and how to sign-up, I was in and on my way to GO Rome 2023.

This summer was indescribable. I wanted to study abroad to live the adventurous life I was craving. LeadAbroad gave me all of that and more. What I saw on social media didn’t even scratch the surface of what my summer was like.

Before I left, I was nervous. So much so that I started to believe I was making the wrong decision. I thought that everything was going to go wrong from my classes, meeting friends, weekend travel, etc. I was scared that the trip I had been waiting for, for almost a year, wasn’t going to unfold how it had in my head. Thankfully, my trip didn’t happen as I imagined it; it went significantly better.

Starting the trip, I quickly met so many amazing people and LeadAbroad was a major part of that. Throughout my travels with them, LeadAbroad set up different activities for the whole program to come together. On the very first day, we were guided on a tour around the city. Fortunately, I already knew my roommate and met new friends in the airport and on the bus. Walking around, getting to know new people and a new city was euphoric. Getting to see the sights in person was something out of a movie, “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” to be exact. After the tour we sat down for the welcome dinner. My roommate, Victoria, and I got there first and sat down at a large table to save some spots for our new friends. Thankfully we had a few spare chairs, and that night our friend group was completed.

I met the most amazing people on my study abroad trip. Victoria, Mackenzie, Anna, Jordan, Lana and Kelsey are people I never expected to meet. When going on this trip, I was expecting to meet people that after getting home I would slowly lose touch with.

But the friends I made are some that I will know for a lifetime.

I met these people, and my life has been forever changed. The memories we made, the trips we took and the time we spent together are memories I will cherish forever.

The weekend travels were my favorite. During the program, I went to Lake Como, Italy, Florence, Italy and Nice, France. By far my favorite adventure was jumping off a bridge in Nesso, a small town on Lake Como. This bridge was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Nestled between two buildings was a small, cobble-stone bridge.

When standing on the bridge you could either look at the beautiful landscape of Lake Como or a waterfall that glistened during golden hour. When it was my turn to get onto the ledge and jump, all I could hear was my heart beating a thousand beats per minute, the waterfall crashing in the background, and all my friends cheering me on.

Crash. I hit the water, swam up to the surface and heard an eruption of screaming and laughter from all those around me. As I swam to the stairs I sat there for a minute, taking in the scenery. Finally, just like when deciding to study abroad, I took the leap.

I’ve made it, I told myself, I took the leap and look where I am.

It was by far the best decision I have ever made. I will always hold dear to my heart my times running around Trastevere, cartwheeling by the Duomo and laughing with my friends over a bottle house wine.

Take the leap, take the next step, and sign up for LeadAbroad.

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