Final Reflections

JACOB H.

It’s hard to believe that today is the last of the semester I waited so long to arrive. An adventure that took me far out of my comfort zone was what I craved. Something life changing. How could an architectural quest throughout Rome and Istanbul not be? After all the twists and turns of this program, what’s changed my life is the people here with me to experience it all. After visiting over a dozen cities, I’ve found the journey cannot be represented by the miles or places traveled, but by the friendships made and experiences we all shared together.

We began as collection of students. Some friends, others strangers, all thrown into a program that in the end created a family. As we emerge from the other side of this wild semester we all are questioning how we’ll function without one another. The shyness and reserved behavior of early-Rome was overtaken as group dinners, late night drawing, and unexpected turns in our program fostered an undying camaraderie. It’s been thrown out there to move into Ozayr’s basement, maybe the Saloojee family would enjoy our presence for another few months as we return to normalcy, which may no longer feel normal after this crazy ride.

We’ve been taught so many things throughout the course of the semester, that being mad drawing skills, new ways to think about architecture/design, how to be smart and conscious travelers, and so much more. All of this and the cultures that we collectively experienced will be carried with us back home and throughout the rest of our lives. I foresee many Turkish conversations to be had in Rapson hall the coming semesters, with a collective search for the best dürüm and çay of Minneapolis. I want to thank Ozayr for being a role model to us all, while leading everyone through the trials of the semester with infinite optimism. This trip doesn’t exist without him and I am forever thankful. And without the love and support of my family this experience also wouldn’t have been possible. I feel incredible blessed to have them and what I’ve been able to get out of this unforgettable semester. Thinking about life in Dinkytown is strange, but I know the squad will stay strong, reintegrating as one.

Ciao, Güle Güle, Adios and much love to you all!CREWWW

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BELLA

Adventures are comprised of a sequence of moments. Moments can be made by occasions of serenity or chaos, or an emotion evoked by a person or place. They may be created from clarity or from confusion. They can be completely expected or they may take us by surprise. There are occurrences between these moments, things that slip away easily and without conflict. But it is the moments of our adventures we remember and dwell on upon return.

When I hiked up the Janiculum on my first morning in Rome and found that I could see every monument laid out below me, like a map that can be seen and touched and smelled. When we ran up St. Peters dome one afternoon to be torn at by the wind, struck by the view and all but fall down the ladders and staircases. When Julia and I spent our last day plodding through the rain at Villa Pamphili, speaking inconsequentially about the big and the small. When we arrived our first night in Istanbul and walked down Istiklal with about ten thousand others, arriving at Durumzade and rejoicing in adana and çorba and conversation. When we ferried to Kadıköy and ate yogurt and honey, watching the sun set over the Marmara and each thinking that this, right now, was perfection. When I wandered Istanbul alone, knowing exactly where I was but still somewhat nervous, to find that this city swelled and unfolded in way that a sedintary place should not be able to. When we walked into any one of the mosques or churches, overcome with awe at the power faith can have. When we were lectured from Paulo or Antonella or Efe or Pablo, giving us the ability to see what they were describing. When we reclined in the grass at the Prado, each getting our first sunburns of the spring, laughing and sketching as we had done so many other places. When we saw Monet and Picasso and Degas and Ruebens and Rothko and El Grecco masterpieces all in one museum collection with only two hours to spend at them. When we walked seven miles through nomad Granada, stopping for sangria and an outdoor livingroom of armchairs. And finally, when we hiked to the Bunker in Barcelona, gazing down on a city where little time was spent, but the time spent is not likely to slip away.

It is the moments that make up an adventure. Be they small or large, they carry weight and impact our memories. So, when reflecting on my time in Italy, Turkey and Spain, these moments I will carry with me.Bella

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DANIELLE

Spain has always been a top choice on my list of places to see. But so has Italy. And so has Turkey. Needless to say, I am one lucky girl to be able to have experienced these countries alongside some of the people who matter most to me, studying and learning about what matters most to me.

I’m truly wondering how my time here could ever be condensed into a properly articulated collection of words, so I’m stuck and puzzled. Indescribable moments happen every day on this study abroad trip, ones that I could only explain through sporadic bursts of giggles or a quick and perhaps illegible sketch in the notorious Moleskine that I have been trained to love and appreciate. These moments and the way I’ll remember these moments are forever engraved into my heart, and all the credit goes to the different and fascinating cultures with which we’ve lived, the enormous amount of information we’ve been given from incredible lecturers, and, most importantly, the generous, thoughtful, intelligent, and beautiful people I’ve come to know and love.

Strolling beneath twinkle lights through Campo di Fiori to find our favorite gelato spot, dancing in the Pantheon’s plaza at midnight, walking to and from Simply Market to purchase more wine and cheese than I care to admit, basking in the sun on our backs in the Boboli Garden’s wildflower field, watching the sun go down on the steps of Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II and knowing we get to wake up to the same beautiful city…

Hearing the call to prayer for the first time, using my metro card to take a ferry that goes to another continent, eating a homemade Turkish breakfast and wondered where this has been all my life, being greeted and kissed by street dogs, finally being able to see the Hagia Sofia (bucket list stuff), sliding down the Zorlu slide while holding hands with my friends the day we found out we might have to leave the magical Istanbul…

Speaking Spanish every day (finally!), circling the Real Madrid stadium, playing futbol with actual futbol-playing Spanish men (yikes), visiting el Parque de Buen Retiro and wanting to sit under the Dr. Suess trees forever, revisiting the Sagrada Familia and literally being moved to tears…

This study abroad semester has been one for the books. It’s been truly an unforgettable, enriching, interesting, and overall, a completely beautiful experience that I will forever treasure and remember.Danielle

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GARRETT

It amazes me. everywhere we’ve been. It truly amazes me when I look back on it all condensed into an infinitesimally small point of time which yet contains so much. Its a common occurrence for fun times to seemingly fly past us at light speed. They seem so fleeting these experiences, and yet, when viewed in reverse, you can still see their immense breadth. My first day in Rome with Amy and Jake Woll seems both a week ago and ages ago. Its a curious duality, and its why I think I enjoy adventures like this so much. They don’y just stick with you in one way, they latch on to your soul and embed themselves there. Jen mentioned something similar to this in her parting words our last morning in Barcelona. When we look at something new and profound we will forevermore hearken back to this trip and its memories which are at once singular and vast. In this way, we can revisit Rome by stumbling across a dismembered statue, or Istanbul when we sip our favorite tea, and even Spain when our eyes catch a glimpse of blue sky that reminds us of Madrid or our ears prick at the familiar sounds of Spanish. I look forward to these memories, but I also look forward to catching up with the many friends I made on this trip. I didn’t know this would happen at the outset, but our journey together has created something new. A family. Whether we are playing basketball, sketching, or cooking we all come together and share in the experience. In short, I leave my time in Europe behind and move on to my final year of undergraduate studies at the University. I will take with me a long list of incredible experiences, and invaluable friendships proven time and again out on the road.Garrett

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AMANDA S.

How can I even begin to talk about our time abroad?  We’ve been to three countries and so many amazing cities, each with an identity as distinct and fascinating as the next.  The amount of times I have stopped and been taken aback by the fact that this is my semester is too high to count.  It is impossible to summarize this experience without sounding cliché, but this really has been the best few months of my life.

We have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the greatest minds in our time abroad.  Their knowledge on the cities and cultures still astound me.  From Antonella and Paulo, to Efe, and now Pablo in Madrid, we have gained insight into the cultures of Rome, Istanbul, and Madrid.  Although we only had three lectures, Pablo was able to show us some of the pieces that have made Madrid such a great city for many years.  In Madrid, as well as Barcelona as we recently learned, it is really the people that drive the character of the city.  This may seem intuitive, but for me I had been viewing each city in terms of the architecture or the urban design, instead of the people who occupy the spaces.  Whether it be occupying a neighborhood with an active political mindset or fighting to keep that park in one’s neighborhood, it is ultimately the people that have made each of the cities we have had the honor of living in so great.

And just like it is the people that make each city great, it has been the people that have made this semester as memorable as it has been.  I have been fortunate enough to get to meet new people as well as further getting to know other classmates.  Of course the faculty as well has been amazing the entire semester.  It is these people who have made the time here so great.  We have become a family over the past few months, and I am glad they are all now a part of my life.  All my memories of the trip will be imprinted with their faces.  I will see us getting gelato in Rome and eating it over the Tiber River.  I will see Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps through Cameron’s and my sketchbooks.  Istanbul will be everyone’s faces with the backdrop of the Bosphorus and minarets.  Madrid is all of us sitting on our terrace or Team Thyssen wandering through the galleries and working through our design.  Experiencing the world together has solidified our family.  I am so grateful for having them by my side through this semester.

This experience has changed me in the best possible way.  I am now more confident in myself.  I have a greater understanding through direct comparisons of how cities can operate successfully.  I know the art of sketching will carry through and affect my future projects and thought process.  Although I am sad to leave, I cannot wait to get home and share and apply everything I have learned (and of course see my family and friends).

Ciao, Hoşça kal, Adíos, and GoodbyeAmanda_S

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AMANDA A.

On one of our last few days in Istanbul, when our future seemed to be up in the air as to if we would staying in Istanbul, going to Madrid, or going back to the US, I happened upon graffiti that read: “#gohome.”  The graffiti was on the gate to a shop that I had walked past nearly every day, but it wasn’t until these last few days that the gate was closed and the painting was visible.  There are probably political motives behind this statement but, because of the questionable situation that we were in, my reaction was to relate it to myself and I began to question what the term “home” means and how that definition had changed for me over the past few months.It is undeniable that I have felt “at home” in many places that were foreign to me only a few months ago.  I began to realize that “home” is much more than just a location or a place to live, but that it carries with it many emotions and connotations.  To me, home is comfortable, home is reassuring, home feels natural and “right.”  I came to the conclusion that the three main things that influence your feeling of home are location, mindset, and people/experiences.

Rome, Istanbul, Madrid, and all the places in between have felt like home for many reasons, but the most important and the most reliable source of comfort was the amazing people that I experienced them with.  We have encountered many new things, some planned, some unplanned.  I have learned, grown, and formed tighter relationships than I could have ever expected.  I have been extremely fortunate to have been placed with such a great group of people, people who consistently challenge and support me.  If you think about spending every waking (and sleeping) minute with the same 16 people or 3 months, it is quite impressive that we experienced little to no tension within the group!  I can honestly say that because of this academic adventure abroad I have gained not only many skills and much knowledge, but I have also gained a second family.  Even though our magical time abroad is sadly ending, our family will stay together and because of that, the experiences will never be too far away. Essentially, they are the best souvenir you could ever find (even better than a Turkish rug)!Amanda_A

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CAMERON

Although our time in Madrid was unexpected and compressed into a shortened period at the end of our stay I really began to appreciate what the city had to offer. Coming to Madrid with slight skepticism as well as having limited time to explore the city, I had yet to experience that aha moment. The moment when I feel connected to city itself, the culture, the people or a combination of all three. When the city begins to truly feel like a home. In Rome, this moment was as I sat at the trevi fountain watching the crowds of people move through the space while listening to the water of the fountain. In this moment, I felt connected to both the past as well as present of the city. For Istanbul, it was rather an accumulation of many experiences that made the city feel like home. It was getting cay from Fiko, riding the ferry across the Bosphorous, or getting a doner or pastries on the way back to the apartments that connected me to the culture and people of Istanbul. And through that connection, the city became so much more to me. In the last few days in Madrid it was as we explored the city through Pablo’s lectures that I began to better understand Madrid and feel connected with it.

As each city became a home away from home, all the other students on the trip have become my own little family abroad. Everyone has such a positive and motivated attitude toward learning and new experiences that created such a great dynamic to be a part of. These 16 other people have made me laugh as well as challenged me academically and allowed me to look at things from a different perspective. I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people that have helped make my time in each city such a unique and memorable experience.

Ciao! Güle Güle! Adíos!

Cameron

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ADAM

These last few months have been some of the most memorable times of my life. I’ve been to so many different places that I’ve lost count, and heard what each city has to offer in its own native tongue and dialect. Spending two-thirds of our time in Rome and Istanbul was well worth devoting the time to stay in and experience everything that the cities have to offer. From the deep layers of palimpsests in Rome with its cobblestone streets and pizza to Istanbul with its mixture of cultures, çay,  and ferry rides. After these two adventures I was exited to see what Spain had in store for me.

Madrid was the final leg of our journey and offered a different experience from all the rest. Historically it is a much newer city when compared to most of the prior cities we’ve been to. Madrid does not have the layers of history that carve its existence through thousands of years like Rome and Istanbul had. But it still has defining characteristics that appeared most strongly in the neighborhoods scattered throughout Madrid. It is very interesting to see how these unique neighborhoods blend with each other such as around our residencia where modern skyscrapers interacted with small city apartment blocks.

Overall the time in Madrid seemed to go by the fastest out of all the the cities we’ve been to. In Madrid there seemed to be less to see that caused the days to melt together. This affect was increased by the rigorous studio work that we had to do in order to produced a developed designs in such a short amount of time. The intensive coursework combined with having a group project was a great way to develop the project and get more ideas going back and forth between people. The time in Madrid was a great look into the culture of Spain and added to the rich experiences that we have had on this study abroad trip that culminated into an unforgettable experience.Hunt

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JAKE T.

How do I even begin to write about my experience abroad? This is a thought that has stuck with me over the last few days, and one that has plagued me throughout the semester. How can one simply sum up the entirety of a life changing experience into just a few sentences that we share with the curious family member, the receptionist at the dentist’s office, or the old friend you haven’t talked to in almost half a year, and my answer is this: simply put, you cannot.

All that one can hope to do is to resume their life, and know that we are a fortunate few. Sure that might sound narrow minded, even elitist. But, I am not quite sure how else to put it. I am only 20 years old and I am able to say that I have been to a very large portion of Europe! I have been able to travel around the world before my life is even a quarter over, a dream my grandmother’s generation couldn’t even hope to achieve in their lifetime.

In a heartfelt goodbye today, Ozayr cautioned us against becoming one of those people. In my own words: don’t be the person that everyone knows and to some degree dislikes because they start many of their thoughts with things like ‘the time I was in”, only to finish them with things like “ciao” or some other haughty remark. He reminded us to stay grounded, and to not let our head get quite so big.

My response to this is simple. We ARE incredibly fortunate to have had these experiences, but having done so, I feel that we have a duty to share that joy and passion we discovered simultaneously. In the ever-wise words of an old boss, and close friend, “we the few are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do something unconceivable, now it is up to us to decide how to deal with that. The best way to show pride in what you have achieved is to be humbled by it, in other words: carry humble pride with you in everything that you do”. Going into this adventure, it was more than evident that it changes each and every one of us. But looking back, it is now clearer than ever that this adventure has only prepared us for the next one. Thank you for the opportunity to learn from the world, its people, its places, and its cultures. Thank you for this adventure, and I can’t wait to share it with the world…here’s to the next one, and the one after that.Torkelson

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AMY

It’s pretty impossible to believe that our time abroad is ending. What an inspiring, surprising, and transformative three months we have had! Truth be told, I do miss Minneapolis and am excited to transition back into the familiarity of home. However, my memories and the skills I learned on study abroad are an important part of my story as a student from now on. I know my time traveling has helped me understand pieces of myself and the world around me in a new light, and for this I am so thankful. The list of lessons learned could take me another three months to retell considering absolutely everything I did abroad I did for the first time (strange thought). For now I’ll close with a list of 10 useful things I could have told myself in January that I learned throughout the duration of my wonderful, wonderful, trip.

10. When you get off public transit, double check to make sure you have all your belongings with you (lest you lose your passport or something ridiculous like that)

9. If you have the time presently, don’t put off seeing the things you want to see until “later”.

8. Generous and thankful people are charming, be they friends or strangers. What a rewarding attitude to adopt!

7. Trying new things is almost ALWAYS worth it, and being initially uncomfortable enriches the experience.

6. Being with friends is great. Being alone is great. Make time for both because the two experiences inspire different realizations.

5. The more maps you bring the more places you can go. Bring maps.

4. Try hard. Why not?

3. Have fun, too. Why not?

2. Be flexible and forgiving. Remember that sometimes “shit happens” is a valid explanation of events

1. Remember that you are abroad as often as possible.Poburka

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JULIA

WHAT.  How is it already the last day of our study abroad semester program!?!  Seems like just yesterday, but at the same time years ago, that I stepped off the airplane onto the sweet Roman cobblestone streets.  I can remember exactly how I felt at that moment; sweaty from lugging around my unnecessary amount of luggage (why did I not just assume I was going to wear the same three shirts over again?); dazed, confused, and enthralled by my brand new surroundings; a bit shaken up after a crazy ride through the city in a probably illegal taxi; disorientated because of a messed up sleep schedule (even though I had traveled for about two weeks before the trip started, I still hadn’t quite adjusted to the new schedule); nervous to be with all of these new people who I had only spoken to a few times before.

While some of these moments were reoccurring throughout the entirety of this crazy trip, (sweatily lugging around suitcases, being enthralled by constant new surroundings, etc.), the nervousness of being with all these new people quickly vanished as I got to know my fellow abroad-mates more and more until they became my new family (honestly don’t know how I’m going to function without being with them every day), and the feeling of disorientation quickly vanished as well, as European lifestyles began to take on more normality than the American ways of living I have grown so used to.

I think what I really enjoyed and appreciated about Spain and our time that we have had here, is that there are such great contrasts between Madrid, which is so Westernized in a lot of ways and reminded us even of home at certain parts, and then comparing it to Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada and how much different, older, and foreign those places feel.  It’s so amazing to me that we could take an hour bus ride and end up in a completely new world.  Then there’s Barcelona which is a whole other exotic land of its own.  All of these places had a special, unique character, and it was amazing to be able to experience them all separately, and being able to compare them to each other later.  It’s funny too, because the second place that I visited in Europe (right before our program started) was Barcelona, and now here I am again four months later, in the second to last place I will visit in Europe before going back home to America, so I really feel like I have come full circle. Now, to end this on the cheesiest note possible:

Studying Abroad for A Semester of College: a trillion dollars

Countless Magnum Bar Purchases: a thousand dollars.

Experiencing 2 new continents, 4 new countries, and 15 new cities, while gaining like 20+ new amazing friends: Priceless.

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NORMAN

My father once told me, “See the world son, if you worry about what it costs and the hardships you will face you won’t have time to enjoy life. Go, worry less and experience more.” I trusted in God and my Dad’s words to guide me during this journey abroad and they have. I have ventured from the Dome of the Vatican to the steps of Santa Maria del Fiore. Sailed from the Bosporus in Istanbul to the shores of Barcelona, Spain. My eyes have seen the wonders of the ancient world and my tongue has tasted the exotic spices of the former Ottoman Empire. I have heard the calls to prayer from sun up to sun down in the city of the world’s desire and I have smelled the salt swimming in the air while standing on a beach in the Mediterranean. In just a few months I have become a man of whom is well travelled and can attest to the behaviors and traditions of many different cultures. Something I never thought I would accomplish in my lifetime coming from such humble origins.

Yesterday, I took time out to reflect on the semester as a whole and I have combined every experience into a few short sentences. In life there are only so many things you can control, the trick is accepting the things you cannot control and learning how to make the best of the situations. Not having money to afford certain luxuries in life can sometimes set you back, however, it does not hold you back from accomplishing great things. Allowing yourself to let go of trivial matters and learning to adapt to adverse situations can allow you to see the silver lining. Architecture will always be my first love, however, as a student studying landscape architecture I have been able to solidify that my passion is urban planning, and landscape design because I find myself not fixated on the magnificent structures architects like Gaudi, Bernini, Borromini and Brunelleschi, but rather their influence on the formation of the landscape surrounding them. 

I honestly had hit a point on this trip where I second guessed myself a lot and could not find the drive I needed to press on. However, lecturers like Paolo and Antonella, Ozayr Saloojee and Brad Agee helped remind me of what we strive to accomplish as designers. Seeing the landmarks left behind by those that came before me and the hardships they faced to accomplish greatness has reignited my desire to design a better urban world that allows sustainable and seamless integration with nature. Antoni Gaudi once said, “Because of this, originality consists in returning to the origin.” Thanks to this study abroad semester, I have once again been reminded that to know where you are going, you have to know where you came from. Remembering the strife and accepting the disadvantages have helped me become a better man in just a few months, This Semester will always be a key influential moment in my life and If I could, I would do it all again, in the same skin I’m in.Norman

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OLIVIA

Rome, Orvietto, Florence, Istanbul, Bursa, Edirne, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada and Barcelona. As the Rome/Istanbul/Madrid group, we have visited 11 cities. We have taken note of cultural differences in language, food and tradition; we have plenty of beautiful sketches from each place, and we have treasured memories made together to share forever.

Before the program started, Ozayr and Jen invited us over to their home for a welcome brunch with Turkish breakfast. I often think back to that time, where I sat amongst 16 people who barely knew each other. We made small talk, struggled to remember each others names, and drooled over the Turkish food.  I remember thinking about how I would spend about 4 months with these people. We would experience people and places that would hopefully make us more-well rounded and thoughtful individuals. This trip has done just that.

These 11 cities have flooded my mind with inspiration and knowledge and filled my sketchbooks with landscapes, architecture, locals, food and drink. Memories made in these cities were amplified by the 16 people that I learned with, sketched with, ate gelato with, attempted to bring home cats with, drank çay with, made dinner with, grape-vined down the steps of St. Peter’s with, danced with, slid down a gigantic slide with, laughed with, and fell in love with cities with.

Spring semester 2016 has been the greatest AND most memorable. It has been more than a semester abroad. it has been an incredible learning experience through doing, seeing and living, and I will cherish it always. This would not have been possible without Ozayr and his family, their love for each of us and their love for each place we go. So, thank you for always finding the best Turkish restaurants in each city we visit, and, most importantly, for deepening a love for travel in us all.Olivia

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EMILY

Last night Amy and I were sitting on our beds, adding some final details to our sketchbooks before we handed them in for grading. I was going through the stack of other sketchbooks I had worked through over the course of our travels. I was reading some of my notes when I turned to Amy and said “imagine how much you would learn if you could do study abroad every semester.” Today I realized that thought sums up my experience pretty well.

We have all learned a lot this semester, not only the usual sorts of things through our course work, but also things about ourselves, each other, people in general, other cultures and the world as a whole. Our communication and navigation skills are better. Our drawing has improved. We have become more sensitive and observant. I could gush for pages about the merits of study abroad. I wish that traveling, especially to places that carry a lot of stigmas, was a perfunctory part of growing up and taking ones place in the world. I imagine the world would be a kinder place.

Someday I would like to spend even more time in Rome. I would like to go back to Istanbul as well and learn to love it even more. Madrid was not as exciting. Maybe we didn’t get to explore as much as we have in other places and so never learned all its eccentricities and secrets. Do not misunderstand me, Madrid is a very nice city full of lovely people. The transit is still better than most American cities, the streets are clean, the dogs are cute, the food is cheep and the sun is wonderfully warm almost every day. It is just very difficult to come from somewhere as old, layered, diverse and gritty as Rome or especially Istanbul into a city as new and Western and clean as Madrid and not feel a little empty. I realize the comparison is skewed but from this comparison I have learned the value of patina. More than anything this trip has made me realize that we are all part of a whole that was changing and growing and learning long before us and will continue to do so after we are gone. That is what a city is and that is who we are and it is beautiful.Pressprich

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MICHAEL

Although the end is bittersweet, we are all incredibly gracious for the unbelievable experiences we had this semester. Together we have created the moments we will remember for the rest of our lives. Soon, we will all have points of remembrance of the different things we have absorbed into our psyche from our experiences on this trip. These moments are going to make an overwhelming amount of emotions rush through your system. The bad moments will fade away, and you will soon only see the unique faces of the 16 other individuals that you got the chance to run around Italy, Turkey, and Spain with. The distant memories of the whirlwind adventures of seeking out beautiful vistas and buildings will leave a devastatingly deep void within you, but you will remember the moment when Danielle ripped her pants, when Julia got stuck on a playground, or even when you tried to slide down a slide and got horrible friction burn and you will crack a smile. Who knows where or when these moments of reflection will happen, but maybe like some of you when you wrote this reflection you may have had your first of many onslaughts of memories and you couldn’t help but tear up and smile at the same time. The sad truth is that as of April 26, 2016 our adventure is over. The once surreal thought of going our separate ways and returning home to be welcomed by our own families at the MSP airport is too close for comfort, but what I am forgetting is that have created a new family, a family that has helped form an irreplaceable experience.Canniff

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JAKE W.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  – Mark Twain

I’m honestly at a little bit of a loss for wards right now. I wish I could catalogue this trip for you into a short three-hundred-word reflective piece but I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin. Should I write about the new lifelong friends, the architecture, the culture or just my seemingly constant state of bliss since being abroad? What I can say is that this Mark Twain quote has never rang truer for me. This trip has further engrained in me a wanderlust to understand, and not simply tour. Jen captured it great at our final meeting this morning saying “this experience and appreciation will always be in the back of our minds” and that sketchbook or no sketchbook, we will pause more in the future If only to try to understand.

I can’t quite tell how I’ve changed on this trip but I certainly have. We all have. I look back on the first few days in Rome and I’m very proud and pretty emotional now. Quiet first conversations gave way to a constant togetherness, sharing all of our highs and lows and becoming this nerdy, eclectic design-y family. We are all more tan now, know infinitely more Turkish and a little more Spanish and Italian, and can sketch with the best of them. I also have become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Those are the moments when we are forced to learn the most.

I chose this trip because of Ozayr, the bucket-list architecture, and because it would force me out of a comfort zone. We’re now ending this trip and I’m taking away so much more than I could ever imagine. This has truly been the greatest semester and an absolute joy. So thank you to both my friends and family at home and my friends and family over here.Woll

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2 comments

  1. jenniferholman2015

    What beautiful reflections. We will miss you all. Keep in touch, I can’t wait to see the incredible things you do with your lives. See you at the next breakfast. 😉

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