It’s official…I’ve landed in Rome and the semester has begun! From the plane ride here, to beginning to adjust to life in Rome, the past few days have been a whirlwind of excitement!
Traveling to Rome and Day 1
I began my travels on Thursday morning. My mom and I drove to the Pittsburgh airport where we met up with a small group of other students from my study abroad program. We then flew from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and after a brief layover in Philadelphia, we boarded the plane to Rome.
The plane left Philadelphia at around 6:00 p.m. and landed in Rome at around 8:00 a.m. local time, which was an hour earlier than we supposed to land! Even still, there were a few plane-related struggles such as the unfortunate necessity that is plane food…
Also, I was not able to fall asleep on the plane, which meant that on Friday I was quite exhausted and could have fallen asleep just about anywhere…
But all it took was remembering that I WAS IN ROME to keep me awake, excited and grateful…
After unpacking our things and enjoying a light lunch at our campus, the Italian campus staff took all 62 students out for our first four-course Italian dinner at a beautiful restaurant. Between being out and about in Rome for the first time and enjoying some of the most delicious lasagna I have ever eaten, the experience can only be described as absolutely perfect…
After dinner, I was ready to head to bed. Overall, my first day in Italy was great, and I am so excited to get to know the staff and all of the students and discover more of Rome!
The First Weekend
Saturday and Sunday served as our orientation to both our new campus and the city of Rome. We toured campus, received our class schedules, and learned about opportunities for school-sponsored excursions to other cities in Italy. Additionally, we split up into smaller groups for a walking tour of the city. We learned how to use the bus and metro systems, and saw many of the most iconic sights in Rome!
On Monday, classes began. While in Rome, I am taking Baroque Art and Architecture, Christian Art and Architecture, Faith and Reason, Italian Film, and a class on cultural awareness that will help me to acclimate to living in a new country.
Our everyday life as college students is very different here than it was back home. For example, all of us needed to go to the nearest metro station to purchase a monthly pass for the public transportation system, so a few of my friends and I went out on Monday to get them. At home, this process is very simple, and I have reloaded my port authority card many times. Here, however, the same task felt entirely new. We had never been to this particular metro stop before, so we had to work together and look for landmarks in order to get there. Soon, we arrived and found the line for getting new passes. Before I left for Italy, I had been told that Italians view personal space differently than Americans do, so Italians stand closer together in public spaces than we do in America. While waiting in line with many Italians, I found this to be true, which was certainly not a bad thing, just a cultural difference that is interesting to note. As none of us speak very much Italian yet, I was worried that we would encounter issues with a language barrier when we got to the front of the line. Thankfully the metro worker spoke English so we did not have any problems. Buying the passes provided a nice opportunity to be able to practice using the few pleasantries that we do know in Italian with the worker! I’m looking forward to being able to have exchanges like this with more Italians out in the city and to continue to build my vocabulary.
Another interesting interaction we had later in the day was when two of my friends were trying to purchase Italian cell phones. In this case, the workers at the cell phone store did not speak much English. One of my friends is a very good French speaker, and took a chance by asking the worker if she spoke French and she did! It was so interesting to listen to their conversation in French while we were surrounded by many other people speaking Italian and as we spoke English to each other. I felt like the mixing of all three languages was very special, and the experience showed me that getting creative in order to communicate across a language barrier can be very effective!
Well, that’s all for now!
Love from Rome,
*Pittsburgh, but only because it’s where this trip started – it’s definitely not “the bottom”!