By: Lauren Egger

On my last night in Italy, gathered with the Forum-Nexus team, I realized just how much I didn’t
want to leave. And I knew that I didn’t really want to leave the whole time, but sitting at the
graduation ceremony surrounded by my new best friends, I reflected on how much the last month
had changed me.

And I know, it’s so cliché that going abroad “changes your life,” but it actually does. You spend a
summer or semester learning how to be independent and navigate a culture completely foreign to
you. I feel more confident in myself and my ability to survive on my own.

When you forget a mask and jump on the public water taxi in an attempt to get to the island of
Murano and are then kicked off at the first stop, which turns out to be a cemetery island with no
stores, you get crafty and ask the graveyard worker for extra masks to get back on the taxi.
When a taxi strike takes place and you end up stranded at the Vatican, causing you to walk the
hour and a half home, you learn to pay attention to when strikes occur.
When you take the subway the completely wrong direction, watching your friends still standing
on the platform, you learn to read the lines.

Traveling with Forum-Nexus was so exciting, and I loved every person on the trip. I loved that it
was a smaller group of students so that we really got to know everyone. Everyone was from a
different place, and I liked learning about their backgrounds as well.

My typical day was to wake up around 8, quickly get ready, then eat the delicious breakfast in
the hotel. I attended my class about the history of the EU, then the international IQ seminar, then
worked on social media posts as the marketing intern. I’d end up at a restaurant around the hotel
for lunch with friends, then head out into our sightseeing. We’d usually go to one or two spots
that afternoon whether it was shopping or historic, or if we had a professional visit we’d go

Professional visits were group activities where you’d tour a company and learn more about
it. We went to cool businesses like Gucci, Salvatore Farragamo, and the Italian Parliament. That
night everyone would meet up again to go to dinner or sit at a rooftop bar. The next day, we’d do
it all again.

Looking back, some of the most beautiful moments were the simple ones. I’ll never forget all of
the skylines and gorgeous backdrops I saw while traveling. Standing with my new best friends,
glass in hand, happily watching the Italian landscape is something I will forever cherish.

Each city was so different. While you’re in Italy the entire time, you’re experiencing very
different cultures depending on each city. We were constantly learning something new.
My month in Italy was amazing, and I am currently writing this missing the Forum-Nexus
family. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity one should not pass up!