Lifestyle & Features

From Studying Abroad to Seeking Adjustment


After countless fulfilling memories, Spring Hill students made their way back across the pond after studying for a semester at the Spring Hill College Italy Center based in Bologna, Italy. Familiar faces of friends and faculty greeted them with relief and eagerness on their return home to the Hill. But, the nostalgia and reality check quickly set in for these new Italy alumni.

Flying out of numerous airports, their journey set off on Sept. 4, 2018. Nerves and excitement filled their minds in every way, as they curiously stepped foot in Bologna. Although, falling into the routine in Bologna was easier for some students than falling out of the routine coming back to the United States. Senior Madeline Jones confirms, “as time passed, I began to find my rhythm and friend group and make myself home there.” With the combination of stepping out of comfort zones, traveling, and classwork compiling, time flew. But, all good things must come to an end.

The adjustment varies from student to student. Some Italy alum feel that the adjustment back home is bittersweet and believe the transition back to the Mobile bubble is not an easy one. After a pause, Greene shared, “you immediately have to jump back in. It’s easy at first, because you come home to a cohesive environment with your family. Then, you have to come back to a place where you haven’t been and the dynamic could’ve changed while you’re gone.” Others feel differently.

When questioned about the most significant difference between going to school in the U.S. versus Bologna, junior David Madrazo said, “In Italy, we were only in class with the 33 people that fluently spoke our language so it felt like a very small group of people. Then, coming back to Spring Hill, even though it’s such a small school, it feels like a lot bigger than it used to. It’s a reality check that a language barrier can make it seem like someone isn’t even there.”

Spring Hill College Italy Center recruiters and alum, Jordan Byrne and Mary Hutti, are doing their best to create a sense of community for Italy alumni. Hutti notes, “We are both extremely passionate about ensuring that students not only have a great time while abroad, but also use it as a means of broadening their world view, challenge their prejudices and ideas, and grow as an individual.” The two recruiters have taken on responsibility to host return sessions for students looking to process and share their experiences and new found opinions.

Following a scurrying final week of pasta, papers, and packing, goodbyes were made and plane departures took off on Friday, Dec. 14., 2018. While abroad, students were exposed to the reality of the world outside of the U.S. such as becoming aware of social justice and migration in Italy, attending a human rights conference and a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camps in Poland. Sophomore Morgan Greene explains, “I want to share my real experiences and new perspectives.”

Feeling a change in herself, Jones adds, “adjusting to who I am now, how others see me, and remembering to keep these lessons in my heart have been one of the best, although sometimes trying, adjustments from returning.” In light of the transition, several Italy alum students throughout campus highly recommend to take the opportunity to study abroad. Looking back, many may regret not going abroad and very seldom regret going.

For more information on the opportunity to study abroad in Bologna, Italy, contact or visit Look out for informational meetings this upcoming February to start your adventure abroad!

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