The Journey Begins

Elizabeth Howell

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” – Giuseppe Verdi

Out of breath and exhausted, I surveyed my environment. Never in my life had I seen anything so beautiful. The rolling hills of Italy caused me to be speechless. It felt like I was in a dream, the scene was that unbelievable. “This is Italy,” I thought.  I did not think I would be able to get here at such a young age. I believed I would be well into my 30s or 40s before I could travel internationally, let alone my dream destination. But there I was, on top of a hill overlooking several little villages and farms. The Italian Studies Program at Emory is the reason I was there. We traveled all across the nation exploring the culture, the people, and the landscape. We saw various works of art but some of the most beautiful works were nature itself. I found my peace in those hills, I found my voice in the class, and I found myself in Italy.

— Kayla Johnson [photo by Elizabeth Howell]

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