Dreaming Big in Italy

Guest Post By: Ana Vasquez, a junior studying Accounting and Information Systems. Ana was awarded a GBC Study Abroad scholarship to support her traveling costs. 

Dreaming big for me means being able to pursue a higher education even when there have been numerous circumstances to discourage me from doing so. Dreaming big means continuously exploring what it means to be boundless. Traveling to Italy to explore the culture and further expand my knowledge in international accounting is an opportunity that I could only dream about.

As I reflect back on my travels in Italy, the memory that always comes to my mind first is visiting the Colosseum. As I entered the Colosseum, I looked up at the magnificent structure in front of me and I was overwhelmed by so many emotions. I couldn’t help but think about how far I have come. I was thousands of miles away from home, in front of an amphitheater that is 2,000 years old. I grew up reading about the Colosseum and seeing pictures of it in books and online. I couldn’t believe that I was actually inside the Colosseum, standing on the stage where gladiators had once fought. I felt so proud in the moment. I thought about every decision that led me to this very moment; to taking on the role of a first-generation college student, deciding to leave home, and traveling internationally for the first time.

Another famous and stunning location that was only a thirty-minute walk from my apartment in Rome was Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. I had studied the architecture of this renaissance church in one of my architecture classes at UW and ever since then, I had fallen in love with all the details. Back when I was studying the architecture, I never thought that I was going to be able to actually visit the church. When I walked in, my eyes teared up because it was even more astonishing in real life than in the pictures I have studied.

Because of these moments at the Colosseum and Saint Peter’s Basilica, I now know that I always want to chase that feeling of joy and accomplishment. Every time I walked the roads of Rome, I couldn’t believe that I was walking in a place that has thousands of years of history. Casually walking past the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain on my way to get gelato was incredible. I have learned so much about Italian culture and now that I know that there’s a whole world out there and other cultures for me to explore, there is nothing stopping me from continuing to travel the world. I have a long list of countries where I want to visit next and I have made a goal to travel to all seven continents. I hope to be able to study abroad in United Kingdom soon! Italy is only the beginning of my adventures.