Some Pre-Departure Thoughts

Moving to a new country is not a novel concept for me. Indeed, I have done it twice thusfar, once under the wing of my University, when I lived in Venice for a semester, and once completely on my own, when I moved to Germany for a Fulbright. I am much calmer this time around, though still sufficiently nervous. The only thing that really mitigates my anxiety is knowing that I am going to be supported by the Rotary Foundation during for the entire duration of my stay. The Fulbright, though an awesome experience in and of itself, was much more isolating. There was no real web of support like there is with Rotary. They do an excellent job of making sure that all of your needs are met, not just financially, but socially and emotionally, too. I constantly get emails and phone calls from members of my sponsoring club letting me know that they are thinking about me and supporting me. Tom Taylor and John Womack have been especially wonderful to me. I have a host counselor awaiting my arrival in Italy and a language school that is really invested in my education. I just feel so incredibly blessed to be able to take part in this program. I think Rotary is fulfilling the mission statement of the Ambassadorial Scholarship, to “further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas,” better than any other program of which I have been a part. It may sound as if I am a hired cheerleader for this program, but if you were about to embark on a 90-day journey somewhere in the world, I am certain you would be equally grateful. I can’t believe I am going to be living in Italy again! I lead such an incredible life!

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