This past weekend I had talked to a few family members about creating a blog page about the study abroad trip I will be taking to Italy for Spring Semester. Before I go on about this amazing trip to Italy I will be taking, I want to tell you the story that led up to this opportunity.
Last year I had applied to an art school in St. Paul, The College of Visual Arts. I had fallen in love with St. Paul with the couple times I had visited it. There is so much to do in the cities and how cool would it be to go to an art school? Am I right? I ended up getting accepted and was planning on transferring for the fall semester of 2012. It was a very tough decision for me. I knew it was going to be hard to leave the amazing people I had met at Superior. I was going to miss my cross country and track team the most. Leaving Superior would mean I would have to give up one of my greatest passions as well, competitively running. I had to decide by May 1st whether I was going to the art school and pay my deposit. That day came and I told them I was going to stay in Superior.
Summer came around and I was starting to have doubts with my decision. I had worried I would come to some point in my life and be sad looking back and seeing how I let that perfect opportunity go. The beginning of June I had emailed the school back saying I regretted my decision and was curious if I could still get in for Spring semester of 2013. They were so happy I had emailed and even wanted me to still enroll for the Fall of 2012. The only problem with that was that I had already gotten myself mentally prepared for another cross country season, so I told them I'd come for Spring of 2013. Coming back to Superior I was telling everyone it was my last semester. Ever since freshman year when I heard about study abroad I wanted to travel to Italy. Superior never advertised an Italy program and I said that would be the only thing to make me stay in Superior.
First week of classes I met a girl named Lauren in my ceramics class. I told her about my plan about the big transfer and if Superior were to have study abroad to Italy I would stay at UWS to study abroad instead. I really feel like being in this class and meeting Lauren was a godsend. I feel like the reason for my constant changing mind was to hold me off from transferring for the moment that I met her in my ceramics class. The reason I bring up Lauren is because she is the creator of the study abroad program in Florence, Italy. She created the program last year when she had traveled there. I swear, that whole class period from 9 to 11:30 a.m. we spend talking about Italy and her amazing experience she had there. That same day I talked to the study abroad office where I immediately started the application process for Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence. If you know me, you know that when I start something I like to get it done and I usually stress if I don't get it done. I was very prompt about getting all my stuff in: housing information, the application, paying fees. I even emailed the SRISA office to see if they got my application and everything else. The day I emailed them to see if they got my application they had sent me a reply email congratulating me on my acceptance! After that I ran to the post office to get my passport. To myself I was thinking, " Man, this seems too good to be true! Getting all this stuff done is a piece of cake!" My great mood had disappeared when I started researching the dreadful VISA PROCESS!
Right now I am still in the process of getting my visa. My good mood has made a reappearance thanks to praying and contacting a few different people in the Visa office in Chicago. Originally I thought I would have to drive to Chicago to get it notarized. The good news is I only have to go to Minneapolis now, YAY! Another plus is that the website says for people going to study there isn't a fee (not 100% sure if it's true though). The only reason this has been a little stressful is because I need so many documents: Proof of housing in Italy, Acceptance letter from home institute and institute I will be at in Italy, completed visa application, passport, copy of passport photo, proof of financial means, flight itinerary, proof of health insurance. The good news is that I am ahead of the game according to the study abroad office so I have taken a few deep breaths.
Finishing my visa is where I am right now, and once I get that done it's official, I will be Italy bound on January 6, 2013! :) There's so many people I have to thank for this amazing opportunity. My parents have been super supportive about going and are happy for me which ultimately makes me happy. For informing me of this wonderful program and helping me with all the steps, I have Lauren to thank. My coach, Glen, has helped me with contacting people and being there to talk to me when I get overwhelmed with it all. For bringing this opportunity of a lifetime and dream into my life, I thank God!