Reena Patel

When I secured this opportunity to study abroad, I knew I was in for the experience of a lifetime, one I had dreamed about for seven years. Urbino’s magic was palpable from the moment I saw its walls, and it didn’t fade for a single second I was here. But I never could have anticipated that this relatively obscure Italian city would feel like a second home to me. A part of my heart will remain in Urbino forever, but I sense that it has always been there. Though there is much to say of Urbino’s beauty and history (and gelato, night life, shops, etc.), nothing was more special than the people I met. They never stopped surprising me with their kindness, generosity, and love. Thank you to Susan West and Susan Biddle for being my biggest cheerleaders, Caffè Basili for housing me day and night, the translators for helping me survive (especially my soul sister Ilaria), everyone at Tartufi Antiche Bontà for their endless hospitality, and all the other extraordinary individuals who supported me mentally, emotionally, and physically — even if you didn’t realize it. It is the ultimate honor to call you all my friends.

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