I can’t believe how fast the semester went! (I was done with my finals pretty early in the week – just enough time to enjoy the next several days without homework and say some goodbyes before leaving. But, as usual, finals wore me out and I was sick with the flu for most of the week. I still managed to do some last minute shopping and pack without too much difficulty.) The experience in Rome was unbelievable and I’m so happy I got the chance to spend four months in such a beautiful city!
It’s funny to think just a while ago I was sitting through orientation and touring the campus (and getting lost along the way) and now I’m packing to go home. This short time in Rome has shown me some things I didn’t know about myself. I’m surprised how much of an initial shock Rome was for me the first couple of weeks. I was excited when I arrived, but it took time to find energy to function and feel comfortable. I really didn’t expect I would need that much time to settle in, absorb everything, and relax, but Rome took some getting used to. Now I’ve been mistaken for an Italian several times, I can take the tram without any worries, and I’m a master of directions and landmarks— to name a few.
I’ve also learned how to handle some unusual situations— once I accidentally walked through a public demonstration or two…and walked away as quickly as possible. Another time I was almost ‘bumped into’ by a teenager on a speeding Vespa (hi mom & dad- don’t be alarmed), or once I witnessed a bus catch on fire in the street…I don’t know how to explain that one. I also had some One Republic bagpipe-playing neighbors— that was fun. But despite it all, I feel confident in confronting whatever comes my way. It might be difficult at the time, but I have trust in myself that I can stay composed and alert. In turn, I’ve gained a lot of confidence abroad.
Exploring Rome was such a unique experience! I wish all future study abroad students good luck and safe travels and for those who missed their chance to travel: keep an open mind and any place can become an adventure.
Allison is a current student at St. Norbert College studying at John Cabot University in Italy during the Fall 2015 term.