Lately, I’ve been watching every study abroad movie in existence to prepare myself for my own upcoming travel adventure; in just over a month, I will be departing UW-Madison for a semester to study abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Although I’m sad to temporarily be trading the Badgers for the Gladiators, I know that this experience will be one of the most memorable times of my life.
I’ve made my checklist of sites to visit, from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, and I’ve started learning some basic Italian. I’m relieved that the classes at JCU are taught in English, but I am making it a goal for myself to become proficient in Italian by the end of the semester. I’m also eager to see how many roommates I will receive once I arrive; although it’ll be a bit of a culture shock to potentially have up to seven roommates, I am excited to meet other students and make friends from around the world.
At study abroad orientation, the representative asked us what we wanted to bring back with us from Rome. A few people said memories, some said souvenirs, and one girl even said an Italian boyfriend. For me, the thing that won’t be packed away in my suitcase is the experience of living in another culture; I’d like to come back having seen another perspective of life from a different part of the world and truly learn about living life the Italian way.
There’s some things I’m definitely a little nervous about moving almost 5,000 miles away, even for a semester. Besides trying to learn how to walk on cobblestones in heels, I will need to get used to living in a big city. Rome is definitely bigger and busier than Madison, and I’ll need to learn how to become comfortable with public transportation as well as navigating around by myself. I hope that by meeting other exchange students at JCU and maybe even some locals that in little to no time I can be able to find my way through the city just like the Romans do, without the help of Google Maps. They say all roads lead to Rome, but I guess I’ll find that out for myself!
So I’ve got The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Eat, Pray, Love in my back pocket, but I can’t help but wonder-will Rome be like in the movies? Will I feel a sense of culture as soon as I land in The Eternal City? Will I come back to the states rejecting Starbucks coffee as un-authentic and refuse to ever go to Olive Garden again? The answers are soon to be discovered as I embark on my cultural immersion to Roma. Wish me luck!