Samantha Villa: Miami as Text 2023

Photo by Samantha Villa


Samantha Villa is a third year Pre-Medical student at Florida International University studying Nutrition Science and is part of the Honors College. She was born and raised in Miami to Colombian parents who immigrated to the United States. As both a Pre-Medical student and proud member of Phi Delta Epsilon she cares about her community and enjoys giving back whenever possible. She spends her free time doing what she loves which includes reading, spending time with family and friends, and spending time outside whether relaxing or walking amongst nature.

You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated

Maya Angelou

encounter as text

Picture of Cinque Terre by Babelphotography from Pixabay

Since watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie on Disney Channel as a kid I had always imagined myself finding a way to study abroad or take a trip with classmates to a new place to explore and adventure. Up until this point it had never been a possibility but coming to FIU one of the things that caught my attention about joining the Honors College here was the study abroad programs they offered. Unfortunately, when I came into college the COVID pandemic had that shut down until further notice. I had been waiting for the moment it opened back up and was ecstatic to learn it had opened again last year. It was never a matter of if I was going to do the study abroad, but rather to where and thus I began researching all the programs. Coming across the class description and topics as well as wonderful cities on the Italia Program I felt my heart set on it. I had already gone before when I was 14, but nonetheless the idea of seeing Italia much older now with both a different perspective and objective seemed like the right decision.

Italia has a renown history, beauty, and culture. From Ancient Rome to the modern admiration of beautiful locations like the Amalfi Coast there is so much to both learn about and witness personally about Italia and I feel extremely grateful and excited to have the chance to do it all amongst the people in my program. This feels like a chance to set myself free, to explore, to be adventurous, to jump into something unknown, and of course to have a once in a life time experience. I am looking forward to going to Italia and visiting all the historic cities, beautiful locations, museums with art and sculptures like no other, and walking along unique areas. One of my favorite things to have seen on my previous visit to Italia is the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre which happens to be part of the planned itinerary for the study abroad so it is one of the things that I would say I am looking forward to the most. Additionally, I am incredibly excited to experience Italia on a prolonged visit, see the ins and outs on a day to day basis of being in various cities throughout the country, and become immersed in the culture for the four weeks we get to be there.

As a Pre-Medical student I feel like there is so much pressure and focus on all these hard classes, studying, schoolwork, MCAT, volunteering, shadowing, and the list goes on. There is so much stress the comes with the desire to follow an ambitious career and often it feels like we can’t catch a break and don’t stop to think for a moment about ourselves, the people around us, the other possibilities around us and the beauty of the world around us. For me studying abroad is a chance to learn about something more, a chance to experience something different, and a chance to break away from feeling stuck within my academic path.

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