How Can I Describe Rome?
Sydney, Rome, Spring 2014
January 27, 2014

View from the airplane. You can see the Colosseum in the middle

View from the airplane. You can see the Colosseum in the middle

How can I describe Rome? Breathtaking. Romantic. Timeless. Congested. Expensive. Enchanting. The people? Sophisticated. Smart. Driven. Relaxed. Happy. Helpful. The food? Fresh. Mouth-watering. Simple. TO DIE FOR! Carbs. It is only day seven and I am already in love with all things Rome.

My friend and I in Ostia Antica

My friend and I in Ostia Antica

Coming into the study abroad experience I wasn’t really nervous; I was just anxious during the four long months I had to wait in order to get here already. Thankfully, I had absolutely nothing to worry about as everything from being excused for my overweight luggage bags to loving my roommates and my apartment location went smoothly. Seven days into this experience and I have yet to cry, die, or try to stay skinny. I already told my family I will come back unrecognizable from eating all of the incredible food, and I am okay with that. The pizza and gelato are so worth it.

IMG_6847

The best gelato EVER!

Upon arriving to the airport after a 14-hour ordeal, I was greeted by a friendly face, one that spoke English in the pool of foreigners, and was taken to check in. Instantaneously, I noticed that the air literally smelled different, if not better, than America. Everyone working for SAI was incredibly friendly and helpful with the entire process. Soon I was taken to my apartment, and the purple lights lining my street were the first indication of how classy my apartment is. The apartment came equipped with everything I could possibly need: a long, ancient looking key, and a sweet old lady that turned out to be the owner who helped me with my heavy bags. For the next hour the lady taught me how to use absolutely everything in the apartment, including the remote and the sink. Every single word was in Italian, which I have no idea how to speak. A lot of hand gestures and long pauses were made, and I surprisingly understood everything she had to say. This was the first encounter of how Italians are extremely helpful, and how they go out of their way to help you before you ask for their help.

The pretty purple lights that line up my street

The pretty purple lights that line up my street

The cat sanctuary

The cat sanctuary

Some differences that I have already picked up on is that Italians are very emotional, in that they use loud voices and exaggerated motions when communicating. Here, loose cash and coins are the prominent form of money, which is different from America in how we use debit or credit cards regularly. Drivers in Italy are incredibly talented in being able to navigate their way through fast cars, narrow roads, and people without getting into an accident. Italians walk everywhere, and maybe this is the reason why they all are so gorgeous and in shape even with a pizza shop located every other building. The historical sites are truly breathtaking and relatively close to one another, and the cobblestone streets add to this dated effect. What I like most about Rome is how non-convenient most things are, such as the hassle of receiving packages and not being able to run to the grocery store at 2:30 p.m. due to the entire city being on a siesta. It teaches me to have an appreciation for the relaxed lifestyle, different from what I am used to in America, and to just enjoy the day pushing these little tasks aside for later.

A group of my friends and I at the Trevi Fountain

A group of my friends and I at the Trevi Fountain

If I am already falling in love with Rome, I do not know how I will ever be able to leave. I am anxiously planning trips to travel all over Europe, and I still have yet to eat the classic spaghetti and meatballs! I cannot wait for the next months to come, and I can foresee myself always wanting to come back to this semester. How can I describe my experience so far? Incredible. Educational. Exciting. Never-ending vacation. Memorable.

The Tiber River

The Tiber River

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Sydney is a student at University of North Carolina studying at John Cabot University during the Spring 2014 term.

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About SAI

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.