CIS Abroad Blog

Day 3: LIVE from Italy – Reconnecting with Students & Travel

Travel with Scott Tayloe, Chief Strategy Officer, CIS Abroad, as he travels to welcome our students to Italy, January 12th – 22nd, 2022. 

Day 3: Sorrento

Being okay with being uncomfortable

I remember the first time my flight instructor told me “The plane is yours” and took his hands off the controls. For a brief moment I was uncomfortable, then reality set in, I had no choice but to persevere. Throughout life we have these moments of discomfort from learning to ride a bike, to going off to school, to giving a speech or presentation to a roomful of critics. In order to be comfortable, we must get uncomfortable. It’s a mindset we prepare our students for when going abroad. But I didn’t expect to feel it in Sorrento. I am a world traveler, after all!

Embracing change. 

Arriving on-site in Sorrento brought back similar feelings to the first time I traveled abroad. Was I going to stick out? Would people know I’m a tourist? Would I make a fool of myself? What does travel look like now? All these feelings diminished quickly when I realized my hosts were feeling the same. Do they hug me when we haven’t seen each other in 2 years? Do they shake my hand? Do we take off our masks? Do we have dinner? Discomfort had set in. All of these questions going through all of our minds while around us normalcy was in fact still happening.

People were still going for runs and taking in the views, many were just now masked. People were still laughing at a local cafe, they just showed their green card or vaccine card to get in. And colleagues were still finding ways to embrace, just at smarter distances and via laughter in lieu of a hug.

Posing with the lovely Sant’Anna Crew!

Feeling comfortable, once again. 

Throughout my first day on-site students came by to say hello. They gave me tales of their recent journeys and plans for their semester travels. The more we talked and the more we shared, the more comfortable it all became. Out to dinner that evening with a colleague we began to recount the hardships and moments of the past few years. For everyone in the travel industry there has been a piece of us that felt that travel may never return, that students and professionals may be too fearful to go abroad. We worried that if we couldn’t persevere through, could our students? But after simply sharing a meal, recounting stories and laughing our way through dinner the feeling of discomfort simply faded away. 

So often we manage being uncomfortable by simply giving up. For example, if you’re scared to present to a group, then you simply don’t raise your hand. I’m only on day 3 of my journey and I’m so glad that once again in life I found the inner passion and drive to persevere. And, I’m so glad that these students did not give up their dream to study abroad.