Submitted by Shams Ibrahim on the 2023 summer program in Rome, Italy…
Although I initially felt a mix of excitement and apprehension (due to my tendency for motion sickness and a mild fear of the ocean), I knew it was essential to embrace new opportunities and adapt to unfamiliar surroundings. As I stepped foot onto the ship, any lingering anxiety was replaced by excitement. My roommate and I wasted no time going straight to our room to explore. Each corner of the ship held its own surprises (robes, tote bags, chocolate), and we wished that our time on board could extend far beyond the seven days.
Our first port stop took us to the beautiful Corsica, where our group unanimously agreed on a beach trip. However, we were uncertain about the proximity of the nearest beach. Determined to make the most of our time, we researched our options before leaving the ship. To our surprise, what was initially estimated as a 20-minute walk transformed into a mere 8 minutes upon arrival at the port stop. Eagerly following the path, we found ourselves greeted by a breathtaking beach with crystal-clear blue water. We will definitely always remember that day.
Throughout the week, a friend and I developed a delightful tradition of attending shows together, either before or after dinner. It has been amazing to watch the incredible talent displayed by individuals on the ship, each showcasing their ability to adapt and perform under various circumstances. On the second night, unforeseen technical difficulties led to an impromptu performance by UpTown, a group that rose to the occasion despite the last-minute changes.
The following evening, we made plans to meet up after dinner and attend the ABBA dance and sing-along, which turned out to be a fun experience. As the night progressed, we found ourselves upstairs, indulging in late-night pizza, and heading to the Solarium for some much-needed relaxation. Laughter filled the air as we talked, cherishing the time we had together.
This week has been an incredible reminder of the transformative power of embracing new experiences, conquering fears, and building connections. I have learned the value of adaptability and effective communication. As time seems to fly by, I am determined to make the most of every moment, cherishing each memory and expanding my cultural horizons along the way. (Submitted during Week 3).