Study Abroad Profile: Laurie Hamame

Laurie Hamame overlooks the small town of San Gimignano

Program: Arcadia University - Italy 
Location: Florence, Italy 
Rank: Junior
Major: Journalism

“I had always wanted to study Italian, but the lack of practicality turned me away. My opinion quickly shifted after studying in Italy. I realized, "Does everything I do in life have to have a practical application?" I decided the answer is a profound, "No."

Before Italy, I didn't know that I deserved a break that I could slow down without wasting time. I didn't know that by saying yes to something, I could be saying no to myself. This is probably why, when I thought about coming to a country where I'd learn the art of pleasure, I felt completely irresponsible, as if this trip was a self-indulgent luxury. When I realized that the only question at hand was, "How do I define pleasure?" and that I was truly in a country where people would permit me to explore that question freely, everything changed. All I have to do is ask myself every day, for the first Laurie on the rooftop of Accademia Italiana, the school where she studiedtime in my life, "What would you enjoy doing today, Laurie?" Instead of measuring the number of errands I've crossed off my to-do list, I measure my success by the number of times I've smiled about nothing, watched the sun set, or by how long it took me to linger over dinner.

I will never forget running in the second oldest road race: the 76th annual Notturna di San Giovanni. I ran a 10k with thousands of Italian athletes through the magical city of Florence. At one point, the electrifying energy took over me, and I looked up at the stars and shouted, "La vita è bella!" Life is beautiful.”