Nothing Can Top This
Cristina, Rome, Spring 2013
April 2, 2013

Until this point I cannot believe that I am living here in this wonderful city. Everyday I learn something different such as an Italian word, expression, habit, and everyday I discover something new and amazing. When I first arrived in the airport I felt something that I will never forget in my life and that has changed me forever. This feeling came from an experience that I had trying to find a cart to carry all of my luggage. I looked around and all I could hear was a foreign language and foreign people. I literally wanted to cry because there was no way that I could ask my simple question of “how can I lend a baggage cart.” I went up to people but failed to try to communicate with them. This made me reflect on all the commodities that I have back in America and it made me think of all those immigrants who go through similar or worse situations every day. This experience made me reflect and it pushed me to approach my future obstacles in a very different way.

Now that I have been in Rome for almost a month, I have seen myself grow very much and with the few words that I have been learning in Italian I act very differently with more security and with much more passion to keep learning and keep discovering. All of these experiences, which most of the time involve some kind of obstacle, motivate me to work very hard to one day be able to help people that face similar situations when they are in a country where everything is foreign to them. I want to note that the first week was the toughest for me, I was very homesick and I was to a point that I wished I could go back home right at that instant. Now in this past month I can say that even though I miss my family, friends, food and my car ☺, I already prefer and want to be here enjoying this wonderful place.

I like my classes, and other from keeping me busy and alert, I am receiving an education that is providing me a different perspective which will be become very useful in my future academic and professional goals. I take different routes from school almost everyday to discover new places, and I am not afraid of getting lost because I have understood that getting lost is part of the journey. I have also tasted delicious food and I have already fallen in love with Italian pastries and chocolates. I have also taken advantage of the trips and events that SAI has provided us and I want to say that I am very thankful that I participated in them. We have gone to the Ostia archeological site which was very educational and interesting to see. We also got to enjoy an incredible five-course meal in an organic farm. I have also participated in a cooking lesson and a tour to a Roman neighborhood which was also very educational, fun and in which we had a very good lunch.

Lastly I want to comment on the amazing sites that I have visited and which I have seen several times. I have visited the Vatican about three times, and I have also been inside the Vatican Museum where I was simply left with my mouth open with all the great pieces of artwork. I also had the fortunate opportunity to see and hear Pope Benedict XVI for the Angelus that Sunday, amazing experience! I have also seen the Trevi fountain which I love, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Spanish steps, the coliseum, among many other wonderful places. I love this city and I am very happy that I decided to study abroad here; nothing will be able to top this experience.

– Cristina, St. Norbert College


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SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.