Studying or even just traveling abroad is a great and worthwhile experience for everyone. It gives you an opportunity to experience new cultures, cuisine and people. However, the thought of being that far away from home in an entirely new culture often deters students from even beginning to think about it.
Meet Miranda Register, a senior majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Montgomery, Alabama. Register had always had dreams of being adventurous and doing study abroad program in Italy. However, coming from a small town and a small school where she knew everyone, the idea initially seemed daunting.
“I remember waiting for the deadline to approach- like there was going to be a sign that I should or shouldn’t go,” recalls Register. “One day, I just decided to go for it and signed up on a whim. It was certainly one of the scarier things I’ve done.”
In the Spring of 2017, her second semester junior year, Register went to Italy for eight weeks with a group from Auburn.
“Leaving my roommates was the hardest part. I knew some people in my group but not nearly as well as the people I was leaving behind. I just had to keep reminding myself how it was temporary and I’d see them soon. And I’d be back with stories to tell!”
While in Italy, Register and her group were able to travel around to so many different cities throughout the weekdays and even different countries on the weekends. In the coming weeks, the group became extremely close as they traveled together and learned about the different cultures they encountered.
“I loved watching how different our lifestyles were. For instance, the people in Europe walked or biked everywhere: to the café, the store- they almost never used cars!” (right: Register on her abroad trip)
Register recalls how each day was a new learning experience and an opportunity to understand other cultures.
“My eyes were so opened to a world beyond Montgomery, Auburn, and even the United States! It’s an experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world.”
Now that she’s back home, Register still keeps in contact with the girls she traveled with for those eight weeks. They periodically grab coffee, catch up and reminisce on their dreamy time in Italy. There is even talk of making another trip back as soon as they can.
“Do not get me wrong, I would not trade my life here for the world, but there is something magical and other-worldly about being in a place with so much history. Every building has a story to tell, every restaurant has fantastic food- and wine. My advice is to jump in if you’re even remotely thinking about it. It’s a memory I will cherish forever.”