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  • Peyton Vann

Arezzo Pre-Departure Journal

Peyton Vann

Hi there! My name is Peyton Vann, and I am a senior here at the University of Oklahoma. I am an international studies major with minors in French and nonprofit organizational studies. Some of my favorite things include pad thai, binge watching Broad City and venturing to new places!

That being said, it’s still crazy to believe that I am about to board a plane en route for Arezzo, Italy, for the spring semester. As my time to depart quickly approaches, I have been reflecting on how I ultimately came to the decision to finally study abroad at OU in Arezzo (OUA).

I have heard about the acclaimed study abroad program in Arezzo since the beginning of my time here at OU. Freshmen year I was given the opportunity to go with my President’s Community Scholars class, but declined for financial reasons. As an OU tour guide sophomore year, I always made sure to highlight the flagship OUA campus on my tours. When I started working in the College of International Studies as an assistant to the international programs coordinators during my junior year, I saw firsthand the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into making the OU in Arezzo program possible. These various experiences have given me so much exposure to OUA that at times it feels like I have already been there at least twice!

However, the reality is that I have never seen Arezzo with my own eyes. I have yet to walk down its narrow cobblestone streets. I have yet to make pasta or visit the vineyards, nor have I said ciao bella to my friends as they pass me by. OK, I concede. Maybe I do say ciao bella to my friends in Oklahoma occasionally, but never mind that. As I entered my senior year at the University of Oklahoma, the opportunity to study in Arezzo finally presented itself to me. My academic advisor told me that I only had a few classes left to take and all of them could be taken abroad if I wanted.

This is a very bittersweet moment for me. Going to Arezzo means spending my final semester of college overseas. Do I want to be away from my friends I have made throughout college during our last semester together? What about my family? I already spent the spring of my junior year studying in Paris, so I know I am capable of being apart from them all. However, the fact that I will be graduating two days after I return from Arezzo has been extremely intimidating to me. Moreover, I do not know what I will doing after I graduate or where I will be living. Needless to say, it all seems sort of wacky for me to just up and move abroad again right before a major life change like graduating college.

But life is wacky and there is no better time than now to do what you love. When it came down to it, I ultimately determined that I would rather spend my last semester of college experiencing a different culture, trying new things and venturing out of my comfort zone. I feel that if the friendships I have made throughout these four years are genuine, then they will certainly withstand the test of my time abroad and beyond. Additionally, when you are awarded a considerable scholarship and travel grant, it makes it extremely difficult to say no to living in Italy for five months.

So, after all these years of hearing and dreaming about that little Italian city tucked away in the Tuscan hills, and after working closely with the program’s promoters and creators, I will finally walk the cobblestone streets of Arezzo myself. Who knows, I may even say ciao bella a time or too, but something tells me the Italians will not find it amusing. (:

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