Carissa Osborne, a student from Auburn University, shares her experiences abroad on the GO Rome program in her blog below. Check it out!
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Week 1- Kelsey, Taylor, and Kennedy split us up into our core groups for our first lesson of the trip. I was tired, I was jetlagged, I was homesick, I didn’t know any of these people, and I was required to go to this community group meeting. The message of this first lesson was to take it all in because we are going to learn so much about ourselves from this experience and I am sitting there thinking what in the world could I possibly learn about myself that I don’t already know in 5 short weeks? Despite the homesickness I was feeling, I oddly felt inspired after this lesson. This past weekend, weekend 3, rolls around. Only a small number of us from our program signed up to travel to Croatia so this would be the first weekend where the majority of us weren’t together which sparked some nerves. After a 16-hour bus ride, the longest car ride I’ve ever been on in my life, we arrived in Split. When we got there, it was 9 am and we had barely slept on the bus the night before so we were ready to get to our accommodations and get ready for our excursions for the day. To say our accommodations were not as we expected is an understatement. After coming to terms with that aspect, the group of us sharing a room talked about how we needed to make the best of our weekend and so with that we got ready to go white water rafting. The trip was beautiful; the sights in Croatia were among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. We drank natural spring water from a mountain (like what?) it was so cool. We got to the second part of the trip which included more intense rapids. Upon a class 3 rapid, I flew out of the boat in the middle of the rapid. It was the scariest experience I’ve ever faced in my life. I got tossed around from rock to rock and then after enduring all of this pain I got stuck under the boat. I was in so much shock that I think my body just shut down. How lucky I am though to have the best friends in the world, they were all concerned and worked together to get me back in the boat. Despite this terrifying experience for me, it showed me that I am pretty lucky to have these friends to travel with. A couple more things went unexpectedly that first night but we all made the best of what at the time seemed like a bad situation. Saturday was a day we were looking forward to; a boat ride to Brač, a beautiful beach off the shore of Croatia and what a fun day it was. I, unfortunately, learned the hard way that the beaches of Croatia are made of mostly rock because upon jumping into the Adriatic Sea I sliced my foot open on a rock. On Sunday, we were fortunate enough to stop at Krka, which was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Of course I had to get pics in the waterfall so I got in, more rocks. I slipped and fell everywhere and hit my knee on so many rocks, but I also laughed harder than I ever have. On our bus ride home, despite some hardships during the weekend, we went around and did high, low, and sillies of the weekend and we just laughed about all that had happened, good and bad. Long story short, what I learned about myself and about life in general this weekend is that traveling is hectic and sometimes the cards you are dealt are not always what you expect, but you can always make the best of bad situations and sometimes it even makes for better stories to laugh back at with friends. I am thankful for this hectic weekend and the memories I am making as the last 2 weeks of our trip are upon us.