Lauren Moyer ’21 studied abroad during the Fall 2019 Semester in Sorrento, Italy. In this article, Lauren reflects on the benefits of being a solo traveler and the confidence she gained in herself and her abilities.
Being in Italy, there were a few things I figured would happen to me since I was so far from home. I knew from my research that I would probably become more mature, gain more responsibility, and be more independent. I also knew my problem-solving skills would improve with being in a new culture, surrounded by a new language and working in a new environment. I was always someone who was really mature for their age, and had a strong sense of independence. Essentially, I knew I would change a little bit abroad but I really thought it would not be much.
What I did not expect when I arrived was that my institute (college) only had 28 students: five guys, 23 girls, and all Americans. This became an issue for me because I did not make friends right away, while everyone else did. I talked to everyone, but they all quickly formed groups, and I did not seem to find my “flow” in my new culture as quickly as I had thought.
Over the course of a couple weeks the students started to make travel plans, and it quickly became apparent I would not be a part of them. At this point I kind of figured I had two options:
- Try and invite people to travel with me or wait on other people, or
- Make my own plans and travel by myself.
I ended up choosing the second option. Despite my parents’ worry, with a young girl traveling alone for the first time, I planned a trial trip to Florence ( a place I had been before) to see how I would do.
After this first success, I leaped to traveling outside of the country to Oktoberfest and then a week later to Ireland for six days. I loved not having to rely on anyone, not having to wait or ask someone what they wanted to do. Yes, it was lonely sometimes, but I met people from all around the world! What a wonderful experience! I did the things I wanted to do and skipped the things I did not. I gained self-confidence, self-assurance, independence, cultural awareness, empathy, and so much more. I knew I could cook my own food, and take on my own responsibility, but never did I think I could navigate a whole new country on my own as a 21-year-old girl. Never did I expect to grow in the ways I did. If I had quickly made friends, I may not have learned how to be okay with being alone.
To learn more about CIS Abroad’s semester in Sorrento, Italy, program, visit the website here. For more information, contact the Study Abroad Office staff and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Author: Lauren Moyer ’21 – Fall 2019, Semester in Sorrento, Italy
Lauren Moyer is a junior International Business major with a German minor at Elizabethtown College. She studied abroad in Sorrento, Italy for the fall 2019 semester and is currently spending a second semester abroad in Marburg, Germany. While in Sorrento, Lauren completed a hospitality internship at a 4 start hotel in Sant’Agnello, Sorrento. She could see the peak of Mt. Vesuvius from her stunning view from the breakfast shift each morning!
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