Nervous about my first time abroad
My name is Lindsey and yes you read it correctly… I’ve never been abroad! As a D.C. native, it’s almost blasphemous that coming from an international hub, I’ve never been outside of the US. Up until this point in my life, I didn’t really think twice about it. It isn’t because I disliked traveling. I’ve been all over the United States and I know the East Coast like the back of my hand. So, was it because I wasn’t interested? Absolutely not! International cultures, cuisines, faiths, and ideas are some of the most interesting things in the world to me So what was holding me back? This is a question I really had to sit with myself and reflect on to answer. The truth is, the thing holding me back from exploring a different culture was the lingering fear of how people abroad would react to my intersecting identities.
Being black, gay, and a woman is hard enough in the US. Luckily, I have such an amazing support system back home. Even when faced with opposition because of who I am, I am able to brush it off. In DC I know where to go, how to stay safe, and who not to talk to.However, in a different culture, where I don’t speak the language, nor know the attitudes towards people like me, I was worried that my life abroad would be extremely difficult because I am black, gay, and first time abroad.
Why abroad, why Italy?
I’ve been wanting to go to Italy ever since I first fell in love with Italian food there. When I saw a chance during my sophomore year of college, I decided that it was time to take a trip. This didn’t mean I wasn’t anxious at all. In fact, the month leading up to my CISabroad stay was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was afraid to leave the loving and supportive environment of home to journey to a place I had never stepped foot into. I was worried that there would be no one else like me, that no one would understand what I’m coming from and who I am. And if you can relate to my situation, I just want you to know that I understand you, I really do. My identity is such an important part of who I am, and it’s a part that I won’t hide.
Learning more about myself and the world, because of CISabroad
But with all this being said I have to make one thing clear, studying abroad in Florence is the best decision I’ve ever made. This trip so far has been the adventure of a lifetime! I had all these expectations and doubts because of being black, gay, and first time abroad, but when I got here, I decided to take it one day at a time. And every day I’ve learned something new about myself and the world. I’ve traveled to places I never even thought to go, I’ve met amazing friends, eaten the most delicious food, and all because of CISabroad. I’ll leave you with what I’ve learned from my abroad experience: there are always going to be people who don’t understand who you are, but don’t let that hold you back from discovering more about yourself.