On Sunday, I arrived in Rome for the second block of my study abroad with CIEE. I flew into the airport in Fiumicino and stayed in a hotel overnight. I got lots of sleep to rest up for the start of a brand-new program location. The next morning, I checked into my study abroad program and had an orientation at our study center in the heart of Rome. We learned about the difference in laws in Italy, and how this block may differ from my previous one. I started my two classes this week International Management and Media, Gender, and Identity. I am excited since my classes are fully in-person and on-site this block. I get to walk through the city center of Rome every day for my classes. It is so insightful to see the local shop owners and markets set up every morning.
I found that much like the United Kingdom, Italy has a strong sense of diversity within its population. It has been an adjustment to try and understand Italian. I’ve come to find myself understanding small phrases in trying to adapt to the new language barrier. Looking at signs has been fun and trying to read ingredients has been a challenge. Shopping is interesting because I cannot read the labels on shampoo or conditioner which is fun to try and learn. We talked about the European Union and the Schengen zone in my international management class. We also learned the different currencies and the strength of the United States Dollar compared to the Euro. It was insightful to see how much geography changes the lifestyle of people. Cars are much smaller in Italy and people often walk to their destinations rather than use public transportation. Additionally, religions and customs change slightly between cities in the same region which has been a cultural finding.
Moreover, I had some first weekend travels of this block! I went to Venice, Italy, and it was amazing. We stayed at the cutest Airbnb and local camping site with private rooms. My friends and I bonded so much, and it was a great experience. We rode the shuttle across the bridge to the small local city of Venice and had a great time. My friends and I met locals that shared great recommendations around the city. I rode in a gondola on the Canal Grande; we had a gondolier pushing us and it was surreal. The locals use rivers like roads and people live on a small island. I had LOTS of astonishingly good gelatos and shopped around the cute stores. I purchased real Italian Murano glass, and I had pasta while I was overlooking the Rialto bridge which was an unforgettable experience and view that had me floored! My friends and I watched the sunset over the water; it was gorgeous. I took lots of photos to remember the trip then we headed back to Rome and prepared for classes to resume on Monday morning.