This post comes to us from Mari Kukral, a parent of a current Florence study abroad student. Mari is chronicling her and her daughters shared experience with study abroad on her blog https://vagablondtravels.com. We will be sharing posts and highlights from her blog over the next few weeks.
Daughter Alone in Italy ……..My Sweet Girl is my youngest child. I have three other children that are in their 30’s. They have jobs, homes, and families. There was a twelve-year gap between them. Each time I have watched one of them set off into their life I have had those mother pangs of extreme fear, overwhelming love, and dread for all the things that could potentially go wrong. The world is a scary place and it can be overwhelming to think about a young lady alone on a street in a strange city – it can be downright debilitating to think about if that girl is your daughter. My older children had taught me something about my parenting. The key is making good choices. My sweet girl is pretty good at choices. In my earlier post-Survival Day I talked about the way she plans, considers and thinks ….a lot.
She has wanted to travel for years. As a young girl, she would march confidently through the airport pulling her child size wheelie bag. Once she heard that she could travel abroad in college she was sure that would be her plan. The first semester at her university she visited the travel abroad office and attended informational sessions about the programs available. It was there she found the API Study Abroad Program. It was a good choice.
I am feeling very thankful for this program. I’m hoping that other parents that are anxious will read this and know that finding the right program not only thrills your student, but it also calms your parental jitters about watching your child literally and figuratively walk out into the world. API had communicated throughout the entire process. They have sent me emails with extensive information as any parent would want, but their communication with the participating travelers is where much of the parental relief is found. They have been very clear with the students about where they are going, what is expected and what the students should be doing to prepare for the trip. The API on-site contacts in Italy are helpful, patient and fun. The students have a resource with them to advise and guide – but not hover over and watch these “adult” students at every moment. There are many activities offered from walking tours of the city and campus to cooking classes and group dinners the first week. The program is well thought out, engaging and has put my mama emotions at ease.
This past weekend the group went to Rome. They rode a train passing sunflower fields along the way. My sweet girl said it was very crowded, very hot and she loved it and will return someday. She visited the Vatican, stared at Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and walked the streets visiting fountains and Piazza’s. She is wandering the world – She is happy – She made a good choice her first solo trip abroad.