I’ve never known what I want to be, the person I want to become, the only certainty I’ve always had was that I had to leave, I had to go out from my bubble, I had to prove to myself that it was a challenge I could handle, far from my friends and my family.

I spent my high school seeing my friends leaving and coming back, talking about their journeys, the people they met around the world, the experiences they will never forget. I was afraid I would never feel something like that. When I started university I applied to go everywhere, my only intent was to go as far as possible from where I grew up, with always the same people and the same things to do, without any occasions to learn something different and to improve the person I was becoming. I was afraid I would never meet people from the other side of the world and I would never compare my culture to what I had seen just in the movies.

And then Norway happened.

I was about to leave for Bergen, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to read about it or plan it, for the first time in my life I wanted to be surprised.

Italy is exactly how the rest of the world pictures it, I wouldn’t say that is oppressive but I have to admit that sometimes there I felt constrained.

And now here I am, it’s been seven months and I have never felt freer, I have never felt better. When I think about my life now the first thing that comes to my mind is that I don’t know if I will ever be able to explain it. It hasn’t been easy, leaving everything behind, a language that you don’t understand, habits and people so different from what you are used to, sharing a room with a complete stranger and a house with fifteen people, not having anyone to talk to at the end of the day.

I realized that only in situations like this the person that you really are comes out, or perhaps the person who you aim to be. And you can start again, and you will, because that’s why we are here, to overcome the hard times and help other people to do the same, to prove that this is our world and we want to live in it.

I really did, I met people from all over the word, I got drunk and danced until the morning with the craziest Canadian girl, I ate authentic Bavarian food, I solved all my doubts about kangaroos, I saw the real costume for the carnival in Rio, I figured out that Italy’s and China’s food cultures have so much in common, I hiked for 8 hours per day with the best group.

We talked about politics, rights, habits, friends, drugs, food, passions, we had fun together, we got bored together, we cried and we thought we wouldn’t make it, we understood what we needed and what other people needed, we learned how to live with each other and we realized that this has been the best gift someone could give us.

I fell in love with this country because it gave me so much, it taught me so much and it will be part of the person that I am forever, it’s the place where I realized that everywhere in the world we are so different but so similar and that you will never change if you don’t have a challenge that will make you understand the person you want to become.

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