Senior Victoria Alvarez walked onto Lynn’s campus as a freshman and thought she had her journey to graduation day all figured out. Little did she know, that her plans would suddenly change after receiving the opportunity to study abroad.
It all started when Alvarez was granted a scholarship to study abroad during J-term.
“When I received the CLA Correspondent scholarship to go abroad and film other students in Seville, Spain, my whole plan changed,” said Alvarez.“Suddenly, I was going abroad for four weeks living in a homestay with a Spanish family and traveling around Spain learning Spanish. The experience was completely life changing.”
When Alvarez came back from her four-week excursion, she wanted nothing more than to continue to travel. Now, Alvarez is in Rome, Italy not just for four weeks, but for four months.
“Although my experience in Spain prepared me for it, it’s very different to be gone for four months versus four weeks,” Alvarez said. “[My parents] supported me in going abroad and living out my dreams. I am the first person in my family to ever leave the country, so this is a pretty big deal to us.”
With almost three months under her belt, Alvarez never finds herself bored and has become more than willing to explore this foreign world.
“My favorite part about Rome is its ability to always amaze me,” said Alvarez. “A year ago if you would have told me I would be standing in the middle of Rome, ordering food in Italian and navigating myself around the city, I would have never believed you.”
While most students who study abroad can say that they experienced new food and a new culture, Alvarez is able to add that she, along with good eats and sight-seeing, experienced a surgical procedure done by doctors in Italy.
“Before leaving for Rome, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel in both of my wrists,” explained Alvarez. “The doctors in America told me that with medication and proper care, I would be able to wait on surgery until I returned home. However, once I arrived in Rome, the symptoms in one of my hands got worse and I was risking permanent nerve damage, so surgery was necessary.”
With this being her first surgery, it was a whole new experience, especially with regards to the fact that the procedure was done in a different country.
“The doctors here in Italy did a wonderful job. They were in constant contact with my doctor in America and made sure that I was always well informed,” said Alvarez. “The procedure was done excellently and I am in full recovery right now with a perfectly working hand.”
Even though Alvarez left her position as editor for iPulse, as a resident assistant, intern for Athletic Communications and Event Chair for Relay for Life, she would forfeit it all over again if it meant gaining this once in a lifetime experience across oceans.
“Both my time in Spain and my time here in Rome have taught me things about the world and myself that I never would have discovered if I had not left my comfort zone to study abroad,” said Alvarez. “Going abroad is not just a trip to another country, it’s a life changing experience that you will forever hold with you.”