Imagine beingon a plane, with your earphones plugged in, your ready-to-use sleeping mask on your forehead, and ready to take off. Then you see her: a girl is sitting on the other side of the plane, she’s looking outside, while constantly shifting in her seat and unlocking her phone every 10 seconds. Her face is as white as a ghost and she’s maniacally clenching and unclenching her fists. She’s very nervous and she is clearly terrified of flying. Well, guess what: that was me on 12th of July this summer.
You see, I don’t like to sit idly by, so I had decided to push myself out of my comfort zone by working two months in wonderful Brighton (UK) as a Youth Activity Leader, basically one of those people who annoy you in summer schools and resorts while you’re just minding your own business (just kidding). When I landed in the UK and made my way to my host family’s house, at least 3 people asked me if I was okay; imagine how I must have looked in their eyes, while dragging my two pieces of luggage (one of which was bigger than my tiny self) with my hair messier than Trump’s toupee and my tongue rolling on the floor for the effort.
Flash-forward, I found myself welcomed by the nicest people I’ve ever met: my host dad was funny and well-read, every day he took so much time explaining to me the Brexit situation and its newest developments; my host mum was patient and always kind, plus she had to cook for an Italian, and for that she deserves an award. Not to mention the school headmaster, the Activity Coordinator and my colleagues: they contributed to shaping the best experience I’ve ever had. We laughed, we cried and we learned a lot from each other.
The most interesting thing is that I met people from all over the world: students from Germany, China, Libya, South Korea, Turkmenistan (I challenge anyone to point that out on a map!) just to mention a few. We danced, we sang (out of tune, but still), we did so many things I would have never done on my own (like getting on the 162-metre-tall i360 Tower, while shaking like a leaf).
There were some difficult moments as well when I missed my family and friends or when I felt like I was losing it because of some naughty students, but those moments look so small and insignificant now in comparison to the happy ones. Not to mention those moments when I had to protect my food on the Pier from the hungry seagulls… That was the real challenge!
But seriously, let’s be real: leaving your home to embark on a new experience such as this one is not easy, but looking back, I know for sure that it changed me. I learned so much! And I’m not just talking about the English language (I improved my skills, of course), but also and most importantly, I’m referring to improvements on a human level: I feel more responsible now, somehow more aware of my surroundings and of what I want to do in the future.
Also, spending two months in the UK made me experience a new culture, new customs and a new way of thinking. One of the highlights which is worth-mentioning is definitely the Brighton Pride Parade: I had never seen so many people marching together showing their true selves without being scared of other people’s judgements. It was a march of colours, happiness, and of course glitter: in fact, as a wise man once said, you haven’t truly experienced the Brighton Pride if you’re not fully covered in glitter!
So, what else is there to say.. I obviously recommend this experience to everyone, even to those of you who are too scared to spend a lot of time abroad; well, I’m here to tell you to book that flight, to make that jump andto be brave!!! I assure you that you won’t regret it.