Submitted by Paige Sullivan on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…
Today marks the end of my fourth full day in Rome! It has been such a crazy experience thus far. I live in the Trastevere neighborhood, which is across the river from the real hustle and bustle of Rome where the monuments are located. Trastevere is made up of thin cobblestone streets which are shared by pedestrians and cars. That was the first huge culture shock to me, how wary you need to be of cars and motorcycles when walking around. There are numerous restaurants and bars within a super short distance of my apartment, it is almost never ending. Second, the drinking water comes from wells on the side of the road. You would think that the water is dirty, but it is actually clean mineral water that tastes great! Getting over the language barrier has been a bit difficult, but us Americans are lucky that many Italians speak English. On the bright side, I have learned many Italian words so far, and am hoping that by the end of my stay in Rome I will be able to speak a bit of Italian. So far I have just spent my time exploring my neighborhood and different parts of Rome, and today I actually went to the Colosseum which was awesome. Next week, I’m hoping to make my way to the rest of the monuments alongside the start of classes (Submitted during Week 1).
It has now been two weeks of living in Italy and I am loving every moment of it! I will admit, it was a bit harder adjusting than I have originally thought. The first two weeks felt slightly like I was just on vacation, so starting week 3 I am dedicating my time to establishing a routine and really being a resident of Italy and not just a tourist. Before coming abroad, UD provided us with modules to teach us about culture shock, warning of the honeymoon phase that develops into a phase of frustration and adjustment. I believe that all my friends and I kind of just brushed this aside thinking it would not really affect us, but that is definitely not the case. I spent the first two weeks experiencing these things, but that is okay! My advice to anyone planning on studying abroad that is worried about this would be to just live in the moment and take it day by day. Also, make sure to save up so that you can do everything that you want to do and live to the fullest!
This week we started classes, and I can already tell it will be amazing taking international business based classes in a foreign country, I am already learning so much about how Italian businesses as well as other European businesses function! This will be super helpful for me in my future endeavors in this field.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Florence and Tuscany this weekend, and it was wonderful! We were able to learn of the history of wine and the process of making it, as well as see some beautiful sights of the Italian countryside. It was also super interesting to experience another city in Italy, I thought Rome and Florence would be way more similar than they were! Overall, I am feeling super blessed to have this experience. Stay tuned, as I will be traveling out of the country in the coming weeks! (Submitted during Week 2).