Writing this and wrapping up my time in Rome is very bittersweet. Of course, my four months abroad flew by. At one point, writing this final post seemed so far away, yet, here I am, amidst finals and packing for home. I’ve learned so much about academics, about living on my own, and about the world while abroad.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how different I will experience life in the states post-study abroad. I’m excited to return to the familiar and look at it in the context of everything I’ve experienced. I knew the world was huge before, but now I’ve felt just how vast it is. I think the most culturally shocking moments will be speaking English in public and being able to communicate with people more clearly.
The language barrier was one of the most challenging aspects of my time abroad. I think learning more of the language for everyday use would’ve changed many awkward and difficult experiences for the better. Nonetheless, I did learn enough to survive and I’m expecting to respond in public in Italian instead of English for a little while. Even though the language barrier was really difficult, the challenge forced me to learn the many different ways people communicate and these are skills I will never forget. I also think grocery shopping in the states will be an interesting daily habit to return to.
I’m all done with four out of my six classes and it feels really good to have performed academically in an unfamiliar environment. It was a success because I did it and here I am. It feels really weird to be saying that I’m almost done with this semester yet, here we are.
I saved checking out several monuments in Rome for this last week. This past weekend I went inside the Colosseum for the first time. It was a really cool thing to experience. I don’t really know what I was expecting but once again Hollywood created unrealistic expectations. The Colosseum looks bigger on the outside than in the inside. It is still a gigantic structure with such great importance to the ancient world. Lizzie Mcguire lied completely in her movie where she travels to Rome, Italy and experiences “her dream come true.” (Spoiler alert: the Colosseum currently has no flooring. Stop trusting Hollywood. Disney channel is not exempt from this.)
I also stopped by Trevi Fountain this past weekend briefly. I went with a friend around noon, and it was really crowded. I would like to go once more after sunset. We attempted to see the Spanish Steps as well, but the roads were blocked off leading up to them because the Pope was in the area for the national holiday Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
During my last few days, I’m looking forward to experiencing my last moments in Rome for now. Packing doesn’t seem too taxing, and hopefully I can make it to the last sightseeing sites on my list.
One thought that I’ve been working to grapple, understand, and reconcile with is what it meant to study abroad and travel during this time as a young (a)merican. To not think about this, in my opinion, would be dishonest to myself and my identity. I’m incredibly privileged to have been given this experience. I’m so grateful to have had the positive experience I’ve had and I know I have incredible memories that will last for a lifetime.
I’m looking forward to returning home and sharing and processing my experience abroad with family and friends.
Until next time,