Financial Analysis April 12th, 2012
My biggest dream is to study abroad in Italy, and it’s actually coming true! I’ve always wanted to travel the world and Italy has been at the top of my long list of countries to see. I’m a little embarrassed to say it, but I think the Mary-Kate and Ashley movies are what really got me dreaming of traveling abroad. I’m talking about Passport to Paris, Winning London, and especially When in Rome.
That last one was probably the worst of the three, but I fell in love with Rome when I watched it. My favorite one was Winning London, which I have already gone to! And that movie was how I knew the Peter Pan statue existed! When I went to visit my family in London in the summer of 2009, they didn’t know that there was a Peter Pan statue. It is located in Hyde Park, for future reference.
I’ve seen more movies since When in Rome that were filmed in Italy, such as (funny enough) When in Rome with Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel and Letters to Juliet with Amanda Seyfried. Both movies are really cute, but that’s beside the point. The point is Italy. Almost any movie that has been filmed in or around Rome has the characters throw a coin in The Trevi Fountain and make a wish. And I made it my life’s mission to throw a coin in that Trevi Fountain! I want to do it because I want to say that I have done it, but mostly because it means that I have made my dream come true and that means more to me than anything.
I also desperately want to visit Venice! My parents went on a cruise in the Mediterranean for their 20th anniversary five years ago. They few into Barcelona and stayed there for a few days and then went on the cruise. They visited mostly Greece and Italy, but my Mom said that her favorite place was Venice and the pictures are amazing. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, so that’s why Venice is the place that I’m excited for the most.
The next reason for going to Italy would be the food. I’m a pasta and bread girl. Really, if I could live off of pasta and bread for the rest of my life, I would be extremely happy. I love all kinds of pasta, all kinds of sauces, and just recently I’ve taken a liking to tomatoes. I used to not like tomatoes, but as I’ve tried them I’ve learned that I just didn’t like the seeds and the middle of the tomatoes. Which makes sense because I love salsa, and I know that tomatoes are really big in Italy, so that’s good! And of course I’m excited for the pizza! My parents told me that once you’ve tasted pizza in Italy, it will never ever be the same again, but I think I’m okay with that. Food is a major issue for me because I’m a picker eater than most people that I know of. I thought about traveling abroad in Ireland or England, but the food there isn’t really that tasty. The desserts are tasty, especially the custard, but other than that the food isn’t really the best. I know what I like and I love Italian food, so Italy really seemed like the best choice.
Another reason for choosing Italy is because I’m taking Italian in school. I have to take two years of a language as a requirement for my English degree and I chose to take Italian because it sounded really fun! I also chose it just in case that I happened to go to Italy because some Italian might do me some good. I’m currently in my last term of my second year and it makes me really sad and excited at the same time. I’m excited to visit the place that I’ve learned about for the past two years, but I’m sad to leave the friends and especially my professor for what seems like ever because I’m graduating as soon as I get back from abroad. It’s a good and bad thing, but I will really miss them. My Italian professor has been the best professor that I have ever had in college. That might be because I’ve gotten to know him and he’s gotten to know me over the past two years, but still it’s a big deal. I’ve had my favorite teachers in middle school and in high school, and I know that when I look back at college I’m going to think of my Italian class. It will be sad to put that behind me.
There are many ways to study abroad, but I chose to go with a program that goes through my college. The website can be found here . The very first thing to do is to figure out where it is that you want to go and then a good idea would be to go to a First Steps meeting at the study abroad office. It’s a very short fifteen minute meeting and you learn all sorts of things about studying abroad and what you need to do next. Once you figure out where you want to go, then you need to choose a program or school in that country. You can always choose a program that doesn’t go through your school, but I feel a lot more comfortable doing it that way because I’ll be in a foreign country, plus I’ll know for sure that the credits that I get abroad will transfer back to my school. Which is important because I need those credits to graduate when I get back.
This study abroad review website on the Academic Programs International, which is the program that I’m going on, are student reviews on their study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. Hanna M., who studied in January 2012 said that, “I was able to communicate with people of a different language and I learned how to be an adult. If I wanted something to happen, I would have to make it happen. You learn how to budget your money, react in a scary situation, and be flexible if your travel arrangements did not work out.”
Which is everything that I wish and plan to learn while on my trip to Italy. I feel like I’ve never really learned how to budget my money because I rely on my parents a lot! They pay for my cell phone and my car insurence, although I share a car with my younger sister who is a freshman at OSU as well. I don’t get any alowence and I have to pay for my own gas, but I do so with the loan money that I recieve for school, along with the money that I save over the summer.
It will be really different while I’m abroad because I can’t just ask my parents to solve my problems for me, I’m going to have to figure it out all on my own. Which will be really good for me because I have trouble asking for help because I would rather be in my save little bubble, I’m more comfortable that way. I’m excited and scared at the same time for the change, but I really think it will help me grow up and help me to become who I am as an adult.
The only real big barrier to my dream will be the cost, because my parents support me in everything that I do, they always have and always will. My dad always tells me to do whatever I want, as long as I am happy. And my mom told me that we were going to make this work because it’s “a once in a lifetime experience,” and she wants me to have that. They both know that going to Italy has been my dream and I’m extremely thankful for them. All of my friends are excited for me as well! And of curse they are jealous, but I don’t think they really know how much it’s going to be. It’s about the cost of going to school for two terms, plus the plane ticket, plus other traveling, and I also have to eat! I hope that my financial aid will cover most of it, but all my spending money will be money I earn over the summer. I have a huge guilt for how much it will cost my parents, but they keep telling me that it’s okay so I’m choosing to believe them because I can’t give up on my dream! I don’t know how else I would get to Italy if I don’t do it know, so I’m taking my chance now and I’m running with it! I’ll worry about all of my loans after I come back.
Regarding my budget, it was based on average of what I spend on groceries and other things. I usually spend about $60 on groceries for myself a month, but I eat out a lot too. (I am not going hungary, just to clear that up). Also, I found that Microsoft Excel was a lot more easier to navigate than the one that I used for Google+. I think that it was easier because I really didn’t know what I was doing and I had help with Excel.
I was nervous to look at the the total cost of my study abroad trip, both the dream budget and the living smaller budget, because I know I don’t really have the money for it. The cost will be covered mostly by loans that I take out and loans that my parents take out, which makes me feel really guilty. I don’t understand how anyone can truly, 100% afford this without taking out any loans or getting any scholarships. It seems impossible to me, but it’s going to happen! My parents keep telling me to follow my dreams, and I’m doing just that.
Jessica and I decided to help each other out on this project, because we will be going to study abroad in Italy together in the fall. It made sense to collaborate on the budget as a team. We both have different kinds of budgets. For instance, she will be getting more loans and scholarships than I will, but I will most likely receive more graduation money from my family because I have a lot more, (my mom has seven brothers and sisters). Also, I already had my passport, whereas Jessica had to get hers. We will be splitting a lot of the costs, such as hotels, hostels, and food because we don’t need more then one room and we both don’t eat a lot at once. The only things that we won’t be splitting are the cost of the program, plane tickets, souvenirs and entertainment. Unfortunately, the costs that we aren’t splitting will be the more expensive, but we can make it work. It’s nice to see it all laid out and find places where we can try not to spend as much. Such as, we found an airline in Europe that will costs us cheaper to fly then to ride the train. Things like that will help us out in the long run!