It’s been almost two months since the True Entrepreneur Corps program ended, and I’m sure the team thought they wouldn’t be getting any more concluding blogs, but here I am!

Right now I’m in Florence, Italy kicking off my Fall Quarter studying abroad. Needless to say, the experience is turning out to be one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding parts of my life..and I can’t wait for what each new day will bring. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I would be enjoying myself this much if I did not have the ability to come back to my host mother’s home every night, flip open my Toshiba Satellite, and connect to the Web.

At home I take it for granted that I can look up anything about any part of the world, talk to people anywhere, and take advantage of things like location-based services and GoogleDocs. It’s actually not a guarantee that every host family in Florence offers convenient Internet access, and it’s not a huge part of daily life here. When I came to Italy, I’ll be honest..I hadn’t done much research. I hadn’t made a check-list of things to see, or a plan of how to see them. In a completely unfamiliar place, I found myself just following the other Stanford students to the places they wanted to explore, until I sat down at my computer and looked up exactly the type of things in Florence that interest me: live music, great restaurants, night clubs, museums. This is starting to sound like my Italy blog…so what does it have to do with TEC?

It’s important for me to talk about where I am and what I’m thinking in Italy because of how my experience at True helped shape my entire perception of what it means to explore new places, learn new things, and stay connected to the world. While I was doing the TEC internship in San Francisco, I made a point to put myself out there and learn all I could about the technology scene and the entrepreneurs making things happen. I showed up at conferences, un-conferences, and private parties with the intent of immersing myself in a new culture that I might want to join one day. I met digital journalists who are changing the way we think of news; young start-up founders with optimism and passion I had never seen before; investors who have an excellent understanding of how capital works and an even better understanding of how people work. There was an overload of energy in each room I stepped into, and it’s something I want to keep searching for as I begin my career in the next few years.

For now, I’m taking a step back and looking at where I was two months ago..mentally because my memories of the experience lose clarity and detail with each passing day; physically because, well, I’m in Europe now. Even from out here, I can keep an eye on the faraway SF tech scene, even if my ‘prolific’ Twitter presence has taken a hit in Followers =P TEC taught me that I can take that mental step back in any situation, and think about the larger implications of all the little details and events I’m swimming in. It was a truly valuable experience in ways I never could have imagined while I was still in California, and I will keep the memories in my heart forever.

Thank you for everything!
Stephanie