Italy: Encounter With Other Tourists

Submitted by Jacob Leinenbach on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Rome, Italy…

Last weekend, I traveled from Rome, Italy, to Palermo in Sicily. I booked the trip with my friend last minute, and when we arrived, we didn’t really have a plan. As we tried to decide what to do, we noticed a hill with a castle built on top that overlooked the city. We decided that we were going to climb the mountain and visit the castle. Along the way, we met two brothers from France. Along the walk up the mountain, we started talking with them, but my friend and I speak English and broken Italian, and they spoke French and broken English and broken Italian. As a result, the four of us had to be creative while communicating with each other. In addition to using words, we tried to help each other out with body language. At one point, we even started drawing in the dirt to better get our points across. The four of us toured the castle together and took the one hour walk back into the city together. Before going our separate ways, we exchanged contact information to keep in touch, and said good-bye. Their parting words to us were “stay the way you are.” They explained that they had had a negative experience with Americans in France, but that we were kind and accepting of their culture. This was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience so far. Meeting people of different cultures and nationalities is always very interesting, and I know I will meet many others.

View from atop the castle, looking at the City of Palermo