Victoria Snyder, Direct Enrollment student from Penn State
Whenever I find myself at a crossroads, my father always reminds me that life is a series of paths. Whereas some may lead to greater and bolder things, others may lead to important lessons.
For me, when I first arrived in Perugia in September of 2022, I was wide-eyed at the possibilities that studying in a foreign country could potentially offer me. As a rather linguistics-focused person, I was enticed by the idea of picking apart grammar constructions and experimenting with the syntax of the Italian language. I viewed these precious months as a time to play with the limits of my knowledge. Therefore, on my first day, with a pencil in hand, I blazed my way into L’Università per Stranieri to find myself as merely a small fish in a sea of people who were just as passionate to learn as I was. It was illuminating! Of course, studying at a foreign university is a big change, but the very idea of being surrounded by these kinds of individuals inspired me to work harder.
Of course, I had my academic highs and lows throughout the semester, but one thing I cannot stress enough was that I was never alone. Lucky for me, as a Direct Enrollment student, I have the privilege to belong to two communities. One at L’Università per Stranieri, and another at The Umbra Institute. Even though I treasure the former, the latter is what truly made an impact on me. There is something truly magical that resides in the essence of the people who inhabit all of the offices of the Umbra Institute. Never have I ever seen such a community of people that are not only passionate about what they do but so effortlessly compassionate in their efforts. It is quite remarkable.
All things considered, I chose to come back to Perugia to not only deepen my knowledge of the Italian language but also to make more memories with all the lovely people I’ve met here.
As I reflect on my experience during my first semester, I realized that I have never laughed so much, learned so much, and lived so much in a semester of university. Therefore, as I sit back here in these hallways once again ready for another exhilarating semester, I remind myself that I am here for a younger Victoria who always dreamed of being bilingual. I am here for the present version of myself who found a passion in language acquisition. And lastly, I am here to prove to my future self that I can excel at whatever I put my mind to.