Ciao Drexel! Welcome to my ninth blog post recounting my time in the beautiful city of Rome, Italy! I recently returned home to America and have been adjusting from the Italian lifestyle. Since returning I’ve been reflecting on my experience and I have to say that it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. I enjoyed my time abroad so much and I am very sad to have had to say goodbye to all of the amazing friends, memories and experiences I had in Europe. However, I do think that no amount of time would have been enough. I was a bit nervous in the beginning of my stay, so here are some things I wish I would have known before leaving. These are going to be specific to me and my experience living in Rome.
You can buy your toiletries when you get there
I’m not sure why I didn’t think Italy was going to have things like deodorant and toothpaste, but I pretty much packed all of my toiletries. These things can be heavy in your suitcase and take up valuable space. You don’t need to pack these things and you will likely be living near a convenience store or grocery store that sells items you need. However, if you want a specific brand of something I would recommend bringing it, as your host country might not have every American brand you love.
Most people (especially servers) will speak English
I was definitely nervous about this when I first arrived in Italy. This is Rome specific since it is a big city, but I had little trouble getting around as a non-Italian speaker. Most Eurpeans can speak at least 2 languages and a lot of them can speak some English. Servers especially will pretty much all speak English in Rome as it is an incredibly popular tourist city. I found in my travels to other big cities that English is widely spoken throughout Europe. If you do have trouble, google translate will do the job. Of course I did try to learn Italian to get by and order at a restaurant, but I’m no native speaker. I got around just fine with my English and broken Italian!
The time will fly by!
Everyone told me this, but it really is true. Study abroad is so busy and there’s always somewhere to go, some place to see or someone to meet. It was the busiest 4 months of my life but also the most fun! I met so many amazing people and had the time of my life. When you’re leaving home, the time away will seem daunting. But once you reach the end of your stay, you won’t want to leave. Cherish every moment that you have there!
You will walk more than you ever have
Personally, I thought that people were exaggerating a bit when explaining how much they walked during study abroad. My first week there I was walking 20,000 steps a day minimum. I think my highest amount was 30,000 steps in one day. Between sightseeing, walking to classes and going out at night, you will be getting your steps in and your body will be tired. Do yourself a favor and invest in comfortable walking shoes!
Coming back to America will be a shock as well
I definitely experienced culture shock when I arrived in Italy, but coming back to America was a shock as well. I had a hard time adjusting back to the American lifestyle and I’ve realized that there’s definitely things I prefer about Europe. Just keep this in mind when you’re ending your study abroad. I personally went through a lot of emotions leaving my program and adjusting back to America was just the cherry on top of the cake. The good thing is that as humans we adapt to changes quickly so after a week or two you should be fully acclimated back to America.
Overall, I absolutely adored living in Rome and would recommend the program highly! Feel free to reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions about the program op\r study abroad in general! I’d be more than happy to share my experience!