Ciao! My name is KT Sansing and I am a junior from Point Loma Nazarene University. I have always known that I wanted to travel to new places and studying abroad has always been important to me for that reason. I chose to study abroad in Rome because of the deep history and culture here, as well as the major differences it has from living in San Diego. This semester has had many incredible moments as well as a few challenges, so in this blog post I will be sharing just a few of the many lessons I have learned.
- You will grow as a person and come home with a lot of new experiences.
I was always told that studying abroad turns you into a completely new person and I was skeptical of that before the semester but was proven wrong. With every new culture experienced and people met, it has changed how I view the world. The biggest lesson has been learning more patience. By being outside of my comfort zone almost everyday, I have been in situations I would not usually find myself in that have taught me this new type of patience. Every culture has its quirks and differences so the only option is to be respectful and patient to fully appreciate this.
- You will meet so many incredible people.
Students who chose to study abroad are all usually ready to jump into the unknown and experience a new life, creating a lot of opportunity to meet like minded people and form connections. Traveling has made me become so close to other students from all over the world I usually would never get to meet, and has shown me so many new ways to view the world. Also, meeting locals in different countries I have visited has been one of my favorite parts of this semester. Specifically in Rome, Trastevere has had some of the kindest locals I have ever met. Between random street performers, kind restaurant waiters, professors, and other local italian students I have had a much easier time adjusting and making Rome my home. By going in with an open mind, I feel like I have formed connections with new people in every city I have visited. I will always cherish every small or big lesson each stranger and friend has taught me.
- Travel is expensive and sometimes hard, but so worth it.
Coming into the semester, getting to travel to other countries has always been a priority of mine. I think the biggest misconception I had coming here is that travel in Europe is super cheap. It is not. While it is much more accessible (and somewhat cheaper) than traveling from the US, a typical long weekend trip will still cost a few hundred dollars between transportation, room/board, food, and experiences. The “broke college student” weekend trips have however been some of my favorite trips I’ve taken. Whether it is taking 5:00AM flights to save money, or staying in hostels outside of a city, these experiences feel hard at the moment but bring so many fun stories I will cherish. Navigating travel in a foreign country in a different language will with no doubt bring some minor mistakes. I know I have experienced missing train connections or simply getting on the wrong train, but this again has taught me valuable lessons and funny stories to keep forever, especially experiencing it with my friends.
- Learning even a small amount of the language goes a long way.
While luckily for many of us English is the most common language, there were still many times I found myself talking to people who did not know any English. Being able to simply ask for directions or names of streets/buildings in the local language has been very helpful. For the most part people really appreciate at least attempting to communicate with them in their language. It shows respect and effort, which again goes a long way. But don’t get me wrong, google translate has still been my best friend here. This semester I got the opportunity to volunteer at a center for teaching English to local Italians. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have done here and has been so inspirational to watch how motivated they all are.
- This is a semester of a lifetime and should not be taken for granted!
Studying in Rome has been so incredibly rewarding in many ways. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank the family and friends who helped me get here enough! If anyone ever gets the opportunity to travel abroad, especially study abroad, know that it is worth every penny as well as every challenge it can bring. It can seem like a lot of work doing applications, the visa process, and packing everything, but it is so worth it! In the last four months Rome has become my second home and I 100% plan on returning one day. If something seems too far out of your comfort zone like moving to a foreign country, just know that is the exact thing that brings so many valuable lessons and memories.