My Year Abroad Highlights

Hi, my name is Isabella and I am learning both Spanish and Italian here at UoB.

I have just come back from my year abroad so when Emily told us that the theme for this article would be about memorable travel experiences, I knew it would be an unbelievably difficult task to choose just one experience since there had been so many in just this year alone. So, as hard as it was, I narrowed it down (and thought I’d cheat a little) and chose two experiences: one from each part of my year abroad.

For the first part of the year I spent it studying in the small but gorgeous city of Granada. For me, living and exploring Granada has been by far one of my favourite travel experiences from this year abroad. Yes, I know it is slightly biased as I had been living there for about five months, however, the city has this medieval charm to it which I had never experienced before, and is perhaps why it was so memorable; wherever you go in the city you know you are undoubtedly surrounded by untouched history from the past. What also surprised me about Granada was that it was just a stone’s throw away from the Sierra Nevada. I had never been skiing before in my life but as I was living right next to a mountain range I thought it would be foolish of me not to try. So, I thought to myself, since my birthday is in the winter, what better way to spend it than trying something exciting and new, and as soon as it hit December I dragged my friends up the mountain to spend the day gliding down hills of snow. Well, gliding perhaps is a bit of a stretch, tumbling is more accurate, but regardless of my lack of skill I had a great time!

The second semester brought about a new country and a new city: Rome. Being one of the biggest capital cities in the world, the Eternal City certainly provided many of my favourite experiences from my year abroad. Whilst I didn’t quite fulfil my Lizzie McGuire fantasy of riding round Rome on a Vespa, living there for five and a half months was a truly amazing experience in itself. However, ironically, my most memorable travel experience in Italy actually took place in the more unknown region of Puglia. My most memorable experience was when I had the opportunity to jump off of a boat, into the crystal clear blue water of one of Puglia’s beautiful beaches, surrounded by all the friends I’d made throughout the year. Not only was this a once in a lifetime opportunity, but also it was one of the last times I got to spend with all of the amazing people I’d met in Rome. To be able to share that moment with all my friends was truly what made that experience so unforgettable. 

As I said before, choosing just two experiences was a struggle but I think I chose well. Although I mentioned only these experiences, there were so many others that I wish I could have written about too, not just from my year abroad but from other times I have had the opportunity to travel the world. However, the memories I mentioned earlier are by far the most unforgettable. I was lucky enough to travel to some amazing places and meet some amazing people and these memories mirror that. They were experiences so unique, exhilarating and joyful so I know I will cherish them forever. 

Isabella Iacono – Treasurer

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