Travel Spotlight: Sarah Hamilton
Hi!! I’m Sarah Hamilton and, for those who don’t know me, I’m a senior in Pi Phi! I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee (go vols), but have pretty much lived all over Alabama. I am currently in the Interior Design program at Auburn and absolutely LOVE it. I have always had a desire to create for others and make others happy in doing so, and with that I chose interior design as my career path. With a strong passion for design and creating things, I also have a strong passion for travel and adventure, as well. Last summer I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks, and this summer I have found myself studying abroad in Ariccia, Italy! Apart from studying, I have a heart for the beach and love any chance I can get to travel somewhere that’s got one.
I am a firm believer in traveling in general, because there is so much out there to see, and we only have one life to live in this world–so why not make the most of it! I am currently studying abroad in Italy–right outside of Rome–and have been here for the past 7 weeks. With 5 more to go, I cannot even begin to explain what an amazing experience it has been. Being an absolute travel and adventure junkie, I was overwhelmed with excitement when I finally got off of the waitlist for this incredible trip. Prior to this experience, I had never spent more than two weeks away from home, so I had no idea what to expect in staying three MONTHS halfway across the world!
Since I arrived, I have fallen in love with our little home here in Italy. From the culture, to the views, to the FOOD, and the amazing people I’m here with, I can’t say I’m even close to being ready to go home. Since it’s away from the touristy and bustling city of Rome, it has allowed me to fully immerse myself in the Italian culture, and get to know the locals of the town. For example, I remember going to a nearby coffee shop a few days back to back, and was surprised to see the sweet sweet owner, Rita, remember me and what I ordered next time I walked in! It’s now my favorite go-to spot in Ariccia, with the best cappuccinos by far. Moments like this that make me so grateful for travel, and experiencing things outside of our little bubble back in Auburn. So, being able to gain this perspective and broaden my point of view in life has been, without a doubt, incredible. I would 10/10 recommend an experience like this to any and everyone.
I have been to 5 different countries so far, and am always looking forward to what’s next. From big cities like Paris and Geneva, to hidden gems like the island of Malta, it’s hard to pick a favorite. However, I will say I can probably give you a TOP 5 of my favorite things I’ve experienced while abroad!
1. GREECE, everything about it, the people, the gyros, and the picturesque streets!! I’ve been lots of places but Greece always wins. If you ever find yourself in Mykonos, make sure to go to the Familia Restaurant!! Fire food and drinks.
2. Taking a boat from Positano to Capri for the day along the Amalfi Coast. Best day, best people!!
3. Paragliding over Geneva and crossing into France mid-air! This was such a spontaneous decision and one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.
4. Getting to see the Game of Thrones set for Daenarys and Khal Drogo’s wedding and walk where Dany walked!! Only GOT fans will understand this one lol
5. The Palace of Versailles Gardens in France... Lemme tell ya that place is magical!!! Honestly, would recommend this over the palace itself
So… while it is still “technically” school, we also do find time to bounce around Europe here and there… and this has been one of my favorite parts thus far. Being able to point to anywhere on a map and actually be able to go there is surreal in and of itself. And it’s surprising how much more affordable these things are than most people think. Trust me, I’ve definitely done my fair share of shaky flights and cheap airbnbs along the way. Furthermore, I always strive to say YES to everything in traveling, because I may never come back to these places, so I always want to try and do everything I can when I’m there! If you don’t have a reason to say no, then I say why not go for it.
All in all, I would say to anybody that is even considering a study abroad opportunity in the near future, don’t hesitate… do it!!! You will not regret it.