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Romina Valerio AC'21 :: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pi's, Entry 4

My name is Romina Valerio and I am a rising sophomore in AC 21. Besides ADPi, I am in the Honors College as well as the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. I have always had a love for traveling and new experiences, growing up going to Mexico to visit my family. However, this summer was absolutely life-changing for me, as I studied abroad in a new country, with a completely new culture. Just finishing my first year of college, being away from home is still fairly new to me. Before this year, I couldn’t imagine being in a different city than my family, let alone a different continent.

I was lucky to grow up in a bilingual household, speaking both English and Spanish throughout my childhood. So naturally, I felt comfortable in Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Spain. Originally, my plan for this summer was to study in Spain, speak Spanish and enjoy the amazing architecture and cuisine. It would be the perfect mix of new and familiar. However, at the last minute, my plans for Spain fell through, and I had to come up with an alternative for the summer. The only other study abroad program I had looked into was in a country I knew absolutely nothing about, Austria. I was absolutely terrified of the idea of going to a place where I did not speak the language, not knowing a single person. But I tried to see this as an exciting opportunity and took the leap.

After speaking with a few close friends in ADPi, I found we had some people in common also going to Austria for the summer. This is how I met my roommate, and now close friend, JillyAnne. JillyAnne is not in ADPi, she is in Theta, but we connected over mutual friends. I was so lucky that I had that connection to Jill before my trip because we made great roommates and she was basically my best friend this whole summer. We traveled all over Europe every weekend we had and grew incredibly close while we shared thousands of new experiences.

I grew so much as an individual this summer, and I am eternally grateful for all the amazing friendships and memories that I made over these few months. This summer I learned not to fear the unknown, but embrace it!

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