We are a mere 22 days from our Italy arrival!
Our Education Abroad office is constantly giving me great suggestions in preparation for my class in Florence, Italy. This entry is based on pieces of their advice.
Before traveling anywhere for any length of time, but especially before a month abroad, it’s good to develop a personal action plan:
- Personal coping methods
Since my students are required to submit this plan before departure, I’ll post my own action plan here, perhaps to serve as a model for my students as well as my own self-care before and during the trip.
Goals for this trip:
- Florence, Y’all! I can’t wait to absorb this city and not just for the time of a vacation. Four weeks will give me a sense of immersion—to hear and haltingly speak Italian as I interact with locals, to witness a culture totally different from my own, to see and discuss my favorite pieces of art, to drink espresso, to drink wine, to sample olive oil, and to eat pizza and pasta from their place of origin (and return a total food snob), to walk where the greatest thinkers have walked (Boccaccio, Botticelli, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dante, Galileo, Artemisia Gentileschi, Leonardo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, the Medici, and many others, especially women artists who aren’t household names).
- Introverts unite! Separately and in your own home. But seriously, in Italy my goal is to stay out of my studio apartment as much as possible. An introvert, I have a tendency to stay in but need to be an extrovert while in Italy.
- These boots were made for walking. I won’t be packing boots for June in Italy, but I will definitely be putting some miles on my comfy shoes and counting them on my FitBit.
- Hello from the other side…of the world! I can’t wait to take hundreds of photos, especially of my students, as we collectively gain global citizenship.
Stressors and personal coping methods:
- People Overload. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m an introvert, and sometimes—correction: a lot of times—when I’ve been around people all day, I just need to be alone. I’ll need to be patient with others and myself to avoid this stressor.
- Intolerance for grousing. Constant complaining rankles me. I like the praise-to-criticism ratio of saying five or six positive things before each negative comment.
- Intolerance for drunks. I can’t stand a blubbering, angry, or belligerent drunk. I really hope my students don’t pull this particular trigger of mine. To cope with this one, I’ll follow a friend’s advice and say I will accompany any drunks to the airport and watch until your plane takes off.
I’ll probably think of more goals and stressors as the departure looms closer. My overall coping methods vary: sometimes walking winds me down, sometimes yoga helps, deep breathing, and talking to someone from home will get my mind off whatever may be aggravating me.
I’ll probably think of more goals and stressors as the departure looms closer. Until then, ciao!
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