Before I even started my college career at Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Hospitality and Tourism Management program, I was already being encouraged to study abroad. I had always entertained the idea, but to be honest, it terrified me. I was only a short 2 hour drive home while I was away at school, and I loved the comfort of knowing that if I was homesick, a weekend visit was always a possibility. I had also never been abroad.
When I attended RIT’s accepted students day in April of 2013 (before I had even committed to RIT) the Hospitality department boasted all it had to offer me- including studying abroad at the school’s sister campus in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and short term study abroad trips to amazing places like Italy, Dubai, and various places along the Adriatic.
While all of these places certainly looked amazing, I never thought that I would actually have the courage to leave my home, heck, leave the country, for four entire months. But, here I am, all packed and ready to leave in just a few very short days. I have already said my goodbyes to my grandparents, friends, and family back home, and have a few more goodbyes before I leave on Monday.
I will be exploring Croatia and its surrounding areas (Bosnia, Montenegro, Sarajevo, Herzegovina, etc.) with two other RIT Hospitality students, who I am also glad to call great friends, Kathryn and Michelle. We are flying into London, where we will have a brief two days to explore, and then Paris, where we will be for a little longer. We will then fly to Dubrovnik, where we will live until December 20th.
Once we arrive in Dubrovnik, we will be given keys to our own apartment, and by the pictures I have seen, it has an amazing view! Of course, I will share pictures with you all once I am officially moved in 🙂
I am also extremely happy to say that my oldest sister, Jessica, will be visiting me in Europe for a short period in mid October. Having the opportunity to share my time abroad with her is the most exciting feeling. She has been my inspiration and encouragement in the hospitality industry, so if it wasn’t for her, I would have never gone to RIT to study Hospitality and Tourism Management, thus never getting this incredible opportunity to study at RIT’s sister campus in Dubrovnik.
While I am extremely excited, I am also incredibly nervous, and slightly terrified. The truth is, I have no idea what to expect, and that is the scariest part. For any of you reading this that know me, you know I am a planner, and like to, let’s say, control things a little bit. I have done basically next to no planning, and I am prepared only to arrive in each city my time abroad takes me.
In order to support my travels and exploration while abroad, I have received incredible support from RIT’s Hospitality and Tourism department, as well as The Statler Foundation, Constellation Brands, and the Benjamin Gilman A. Gilman Scholarship Program.
I hope that I can grow and learn from my experiences abroad. I hope to become more open minded, less of a control freak, and a better person overall. I also hope that you will follow me along my journey. I will be posting at least once a week, but hope to post more frequently. I hope that you enjoy this blog. I look forward to sharing my experiences and memories with you! Cheers!