Lasting Lessons- Erin Hicks, Maggie Mahfood, and Rebekah Provines

We are all sitting around our respective tables tonight, finishing up last minute packing, and getting ready for our four AM flight to Texas. It has been an incredible month in one of the most beautiful places on earth and we are undeniably grateful for the ability to have had this experience. We have been fortunate enough to have spent this month with three terrific faculty members who have invested their time, a precious and limited resource, into our lives, and we are better people for having learned from them. It is with very mixed emotions that we begin our journey home. The past thirty days have taught us:

  1. How to truly appreciate art.
  2. What it means to be outside of our “comfort zone.”
  3. To slow down.
  4. How to make the small moments count.
  5. How to embrace adventure.
  6. What it means to communicate effectively.
  7. To respect cultural values different than our own.11418270_10153010524286229_1436893778_n
  8. How to navigate public transportation.
  9. How to take initiative in planning independent trips.
  10. What a true Italian meal tastes like.
  11. What good coffee means. Quality over quantity.
  12. The great things that we are capable of.
  13. How to disconnect from technology.
  14. How to connect with the people around us.
  15. That home can be a feeling, not just a physical dwelling.
  16. How to value people’s individual outlook on every aspect of life.
  17. How to get along with a diverse group of individuals.
  18. How to live on a budget.
  19. How to pursue happiness.
  20. What it feels like to be truly content.
  21. How to deal with European washing machines.
  22. What it means to make friends.
  23. About the overwhelming beauty of nature.
  24. How to marvel at the history and beauty of mankind.
  25. The value of trust and loyalty within the Italian culture.
  26. How to love people genuinely.
  27. How to accept and cope with the things we cannot change.
  28. How to endure a nine hour flight.
  29. That travel sparks an untamable curiosity.
  30. What wanderlust feels like.


This list is by no means comprehensive, as it is impossible to quantify all that we have learned here. Every single one of us has had a unique experience during our time abroad. There are lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom. This world is big and begs to be explored, and GATE has given us the opportunity to learn and experience something absolutely life changing. We are forever grateful to those who made this experience possible and look forward to carrying its lessons with us for the rest of our lives.

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