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Rachel Reed's semester with Maryland-in-Rome

Program: Maryland-in-Rome
Term: Spring 2023
Major: Communication

Studying abroad was the best decision I've ever made! It helped me step out of my comfort zone and become more confident in myself

It showed me that meeting new people and doing things alone is not as scary as it seems and the outcome is so worth it. It really showed me that things do happen for a reason and that change and new, unfamiliar experiences are good. I went into it knowing nobody and never traveling that far, and it was the best experience I could have asked for. Studying abroad brought me some of the best people ever that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. And it brought the greatest memories that I'll never forget. Also, living in much different cultures was very eye opening. It was so cool to live in such a different country and be surrounded by their amazing lifestyles, food, architecture, landmarks, fashion, etc.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad 

As a woman, it is scary going to a foreign country, but staying with a group at all times makes it better. Having a solid group of friends allowed me to be safe and not worry about getting stranded by myself. I also kept pepper spray with me just in case and made sure my phone was always working and charged. Knowing the emergency number and how to say common phrases also helps to prepare for a bad situation.

An experience that was the most memorable was going to an Air BnB in Tuscany with some of my friends

At first it was not looking good, there was no transportation to the place because it was in the hills and farms of Tuscany and we were stranded at the train station. But then the Air BnB host came and picked us up and took us to the most beautiful place in the world. We had our own villa just to ourselves with the greatest view I have ever seen. Then the host brought us ponies to play with and his own balsamic vinegar, wine, and eggs from his chickens. The next day we got to explore this small Italian town, with no tourists, and went to a local restaurant for the best sandwich we have all ever eaten in our lives. So in conclusion, the best experiences happen unexpectedly, we were preparing for the worst when we arrived, but it turned out to be al of our favorite weekend the whole semester.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad

Studying abroad is a whole new and exciting experience. It is nerve-racking and scary at first, but once you realize it is a once in a lifetime program that allows you to experience things you never would have and become a more confident person, it is very worth it. It is important to know that everyone is nervous at first, even the people that go with their friends. Everyone is experiencing that same thing you are, so it is okay and encouraged to talk to others about it.

The hardest part was the definitely the beginning. I didn't have any friends, I didn't know any Italian, I was living in a foreign country by myself about to start at a new school.

 I adjusted by giving myself time to settle in in my own way so that I was comfortable. Then once I was familiar with my surroundings more, I stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to make friends and try new things. You just have to keep going and let things happen, rather than overthink everything and scare yourself into not doing anything and being scared all the time.

If I hadn't studied abroad, I would have never been able to be in Dublin, Ireland on St. Patrick's Day

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