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“When Words Fail”

This is another post taken from the blog of Umbra student Maria Papapietro, who studies here through the study abroad provider CIS. Her blog, La Vita e’ Bella, is a great example of a student’s study abroad experience in Italy.

This past Tuesday, I had my final presentations for both my “Family Project” and my education internship. Several groups from different classes presented their experiences, research, etc. on the same day. We made our way to a beautiful auditorium to talk about what we’ve learned this semester. After a special prayer with my presentation group, a hug from my Italian family (who were there to cheer us on), and a thumbs up from my mom, I approached the panel with Leti to talk about our experiences with the Vigneri family. As I looked out at the crowd of people I’ve grown to love immensely, it hit me. Sometimes, we can’t express our feelings adequately.

Yes, I blog. But recently, words are failing me. When I looked out, I didn’t see a crowd. I saw my classmates giving smiles of support. I saw my favorite staff members. I saw my life here. Dramatic? Maybe a little. But it’s the truth.

This week, I had the blessing of introducing Mom to the people here who are so special to me. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “your mom is amazing!” It was interesting to have my “worlds” collide in a sense. Home in the United States meets home in Italy. Jules met the Umbra staff members who have taken wonderful care of me. She met the friends whose apartments I frequent. I can’t describe how amazing that felt.

I am always amazed by how quickly I can make very close friends. During one late night conversation with my roommates, someone described study abroad friendships as relationships in hyperdrive. I couldn’t agree more. January is like freshman year of college. Everyone is still figuring each other out, and relationships are beginning to form. February (sophomore year) is when the foundations start to happen. People shift around, and homesickness and difficulties can arise. March (junior year), the incredible bonding really takes place. And when April finally hits, you look back at the last four months, the four months that seemed like a lifetime when you landed in Rome on that January morning, and wonder how on earth you will ever live without seeing each other every day.

Later, I will post about specific people. But for now, I am thinking of my Umbra group at large. And what a special group it was.

Try summarizing THAT.

Again, Maria’s blog can be found at:

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