The three weeks I spent in Cortona, Italy in May certainly changed my life. As I type this, I sit in my room in Athens, surrounded by a few bottles of wine I ordered to be shipped from Italy. Mind you, the bottles are unopened, after all, it is noon and I would never consider myself a day drinker.

There was the good of my trip: the friends and memories I made spring to mind, as well as the (albeit short) immersion learning of the beautiful Italian language. In fact, the only grudge I hold against Italy comes in the ten pounds I had gained over my three weeks there that to this day reside on my body as a reminder of the oodles of noodles I consumed. However, would I say that I regretti the spaghetti? Probably not.

I would also like to address the (somewhat) recent earthquake that Italy suffered. Hearing the news really shook me (honest to God, no pun intended), especially because the epicenter was near Perugia, a city I visited twice during my stay in Italy. It made me reflect on the fact that everyone I had met there, both in Perugia and in the country, was a person and was impacted, or had friends and family, who were impacted by this natural disaster, and my thoughts and prayers went out to all of them, because we are all human despite our language or nationality barriers, and we all hurt together when things like this happen.

My study abroad experience impacted me deeply and changed me as a person by making me more culturally aware and more attached to the Earth, and I would say that despite having paid for a class about grapes and wine, I learned many more lessons because I was in such a culturally rich place, and I consider those lessons priceless.