IIDA TX OK Chapter Study Abroad Scholarship Winner

Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. Growing up, I got to listen to all of my mom’s endless and fascinating stories from when she studied abroad when she was my age. Because of this, I fell in love with the idea of going abroad and I grew up with the conception that someday I would get to experience something like what my mom did. Traveling has always been something that has caught my attention because being from a different country and speaking another language has really opened my perspective to appreciate other cultures.

Whenever it was time for me to go to college and decide the future of my academic career, there was no doubt in my mind that studying abroad would hopefully form a part of that. I chose to pursue my academics at Texas Christian University to study Interior Design because of the great program that they offer. Going into my third year last year, it was time to decide if I would be going abroad, so I began to apply. I knew that I would be very fortunate in the sense that my parents would be able to support a great deal of my program, however, I knew that the expenses would become overwhelming. Without any sort of financial aid, I probably would not have been able to pursue the experience that I had been dreaming about.

With that said, I am so fortunate to have been the 2022 IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter Education Fund Study Abroad Scholarship recipient. Thanks to this gracious fund I was able to spend the past semester taking in the great culture of Florence, Italy. I arrived in January where I was assigned to my apartment with my new roommates. Our program arranged us in actual apartment buildings throughout the city where our neighbors were Italians and we truly lived how the locals do. My random roommate assignments turned out to be the best group of friends I didn't know I was missing in my life. They say that the people make the place, and I can assure you that this statement is definitely true!

I never imagined how attached I would become to a foreign city, but Florence truly became a home for me. I spent my days going to class and walking past the Duomo every morning. I crossed the immense crowds of the Ponte Vecchio every day to get home. I learned that my favorite place in the world is the Piazzale Michelangelo, and even though you can't swim in the Arno River, you can go on runs with your friends along it. I learned that pedestrians definitely do not have the right of way and that it is not normal to have dinner at 6 PM. I also learned that the metric system is definitely less complicated than the imperial system and that my SketchUp had trouble doing measurement conversions.

I got the opportunity to visit many cities besides Florence, but it was always my favorite place to come home to on Sunday nights. Now that I am back home and still haven’t processed that it's over, I have all of the time in the world to remember the best four and a half months of my life. Thank you for choosing me to be the recipient of this scholarship and for making my dreams a reality!

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