After months and months of anticipation I finally made it to Rome – luggage and all – exhausted, but in one piece. We were shuttled off to our apartments and after a small fiasco of being given the wrong apartment number, I found the quaint little apartment I would be living in for the semester. The other two girls were already there, although my roommate was missing her luggage. After unpacking and checking the place out, An (who was here for fall semester) took us out to her favorite pizzeria. The whole thing just seemed surreal, I hadn’t quite been able to wrap my mind around the fact that I was actually in Rome. But the pizza and the pasta and the wine was all delicious, something I can definitely get used to this. After that, An took us to her favorite local gelato shop, which was again, delicious.
We quickly realized that we were very fortunate in our housing placement as we are one of the closest people to school. The alley kitchen is very small, you can hardly fit two people in there, but we make it work. Orientation was nice and very helpful I thought, If not a little hectic. The second night we were in Rome we went to see the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. As a Classics major, finally seeing these things in person was awe-inspiring for me. I think standing in front of the Pantheon while a cello and guitar duet played in the background was the moment when it hit me that I was actually in Rome. It was a great night, and each night of orientation we went out to see more of the ancient city.
I don’t really think I experienced much culture shock. A lot of things are different than I am used to, sure, but I feel like I took them all in stride and I find most of the differences cool and interesting – I enjoy the change. One of the big differences I noticed in Italian culture vs American is the daily siesta. This would never fly in America, where people are always running from place to place. But really I think it makes a lot of sense, I mean who doesn’t need a break for lunch and a nap in the middle of the day? I also noticed that you always see Italian couples holding hands or walking arm in arm, no matter the age. I think it’s sweet. I also noticed right away that they kind of drive like maniacs. They have these narrow little cobblestone streets full of pedestrians that they just barrel down. Kind of crazy, but it’s just how the Italians do it.
Overall, I love Rome. It’s a lot to take in all at once, but really I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.
Amie is a student at Gustavus Adolphus studying at John Cabot University during the Spring 2014 term.