Hi everyone! To preface, my name is Rocquel Donofrio and I’m going into my junior year at USF in pursuit of a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) degree. As depicted in the attached photo, I was born and raised in a small beach town in New Jersey. My hometown is something that I consider to be an integral contribution to who I am as a person in terms of my personality, academic interests and extracurricular passions. My chosen major at USF is derived from my internal desire to leave the world better than I found it, whether that means reducing nationwide homelessness, tackling the addiction epidemic from an unprecedented vantage point, or reversing some of the man-made damage that has been imposed upon our environment. Moreover, in the past I’ve never been given the opportunity to travel outside of the United States. Without the Gilman Scholarship and the University of South Florida’s incredibly comprehensive study abroad department in general, I probably wouldn’t be going abroad until my latter adult life. Furthermore, my primary focus while abroad will be to continuously pay mind to seeking out cultural similarities and differences between Italy and the United States in order to better shape my understanding of how America’s social institutions can be rehabilitated in the future. However, in a recreational manner I intend to engage in several practices that are established within my domestic life. Some of these aspects include yoga, other exercise, reading literature, writing, and cooking. Now that my departure time is roughly 48 hours from now, the reality of my circumstances are coming to light and I’m becoming increasingly more eager and intrigued at the prospect of leaving my home country for the first time. In future posts, I hope to provide readers with insight into the synthesized experiences and cognitions regarding my time abroad that I will illustrate to the best of my ability. Thanks for reading!