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    Posted March 14, 2014 by
    Clifton, New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    Stepping back into the happiest days of my life


    My name is Kirti Nahar and I'm currently a junior concentrating in Marketing and Global Business Management at Babson College. Through Babson, I took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Perugia, Italy at the Umbra Institute from August - December 2013, aka the happiest days of my life. Studying abroad in such a small close knit community was one of the best decisions of my life. I got to travel, eat, study, work, and volunteer with students from all around the world and locals from right there in Perugia, giving me the chance to learn so many different perspectives on life. Stepping back from our busy U.S. lifestyles for 4 months was the perfect opportunity to just relax and reflect on the way we live our lives. It's incredible to see the differences in how Italians live versus Americans. The pace of life is so much more relaxed and family, food, and enjoying life are of utmost importance. As an American trend, it's normal to go to the grocery store at the beginning of the week and get everything we need for the rest of the week in order to save time and effort. Whereas, in Italy, you walk to the store once a day, if not before every meal, to ensure you get the freshest items to make even the simplest meal extraordinary. We as Americans, often tend to take these things for granted. Then, there are the small things we tend to forget that are in fact privileges, like being able to blow dry your hair, while doing the laundry, and while your dinner is baking in the oven; my roommates and I found out the hard way that it's not possible in every country. As a class trip one afternoon, we went to a local sustainable vineyard to help harvest the grapes and then enjoyed the most delicious meal cooked and served by the host family. That trip is one of my favorite memories from abroad because you could easily see how relaxed and happy everyone was with the simple task of picking grapes and then stomping on them to get the fresh grape juice. To finish the day, we had an incredible yet simple 5 course (standard) meal and played with the many adorable puppies on the vineyard. Going home that day, I realized that my friends and I would never spend such a quality day like that in America, because it just wouldn't be the normal thing to spend a day stomping on grapes and playing with puppies. I urge EVERYONE to study abroad and learn about all of the different cultures and lifestyles in the world. There are so many characteristics of other lifestyles worth picking up and adding to our own daily lives. If given the chance and time, I would go back in a heartbeat and begin the next 4 happiest months of my life.

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