1. How to live on my own, far away from home, and in a foreign language
2. How to use conversational Italian comfortably and proficiently
3. How the university system can work outside the United States, and the strengths of American higher education over the Italian system
4. How to cook - and eat - all'italiana
5. How to go with the flow while on vacation, and, more generally, how to accept and enjoy the things life gives you
6. Renewed appreciation for Brown, Rhode Island, the United States, and my life in general
My study abroad experience was immensely enjoyable and educational, and I think it was one of the best things I have ever done. I could talk for hours about my time in Italy, but I won't right do that here and now. Suffice it to say that whoever you are, I think that only good things can come from learning more about your place in the world.
As a side story... One of the last things that I did before I left Bologna was enter the Basilica of St. Petronius and look for the sun shining through the oculus (above) onto the solar dial to mark the day in the year. Unfortunately, the church closed for lunch before the beam made it to the dial. Whereas back in January this might have frustrated me, this time I was willing to content myself with the good fortune of seeing the sun beam land on a column, crawling ever so slowly in the direction of the sun dial. Maybe it was better this way...
I am now back at home, enjoying my time with my friends and family, and doing great research in a chemistry lab at Brown. I'm extremely grateful for all of the great people who made my stay in Italy so enjoyable, especially the people at the Brown in Bologna office, my American friends along with me on the program, and the many new Italian friends that I made in Bologna. Grazie, arrivederci!